State Senator Bruce Tarr to Visit Housing Court
BOSTON, August 4, 2016—State Senator Bruce Tarr of Gloucester will visit Housing Court at the Brooke Courthouse in Boston at 9:30am on Thursday, August 11, 2016.
Barbara Zimbel, a civil legal aid attorney from Greater Boston Legal Services, will give the senator a tour of Housing Court, which has jurisdiction over civil and criminal actions relating to the health, safety, or welfare of the occupants or owners of residential housing. They will be joined by Massachusetts Bar Association President Robert W. Harnais, Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation Executive Director Lonnie Powers, and Meehan Boyle attorney John Carroll, who is also a member of the Legislative Committee of the Equal Justice Coalition.
“Most of those appearing in Housing Court cannot afford to hire an attorney to defend themselves in foreclosure or eviction proceedings,” said Powers. “We know that two-thirds of those who are facing eviction and have an attorney are able to keep their housing while only one-third of those without legal representation are able to do so.”
Harnais added: “It’s one thing to read about the incredible difference legal aid makes when it comes to improving access to justice. But seeing is believing, and the unfortunate reality is you can see the effects of inadequate funding for legal aid every day in our courthouses. With so many of our citizens fighting for their homes and their safety without a lawyer, it is clear we need to do better. No one should ever walk into a court alone where their home or their well-being is in jeopardy.”
Earlier this year, the Equal Justice Coalition released a video about the need for civil legal aid in Housing Court. It can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ku9EUyY2HZY
About the Equal Justice Coalition
The Equal Justice Coalition, a collaboration of the Boston Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association and the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC), works to increase the state appropriation for civil legal aid through MLAC (line item 0321-1600).