In the News

July 25, 2017

South End Renters Hope Legal Fight Stops Eviction – The Boston Globe

GBLS is advising low-income Harrison Avenue tenants in the South End as they fight eviction following the sale of their building.”

Please click here to read the Boston Globe article


June 13, 2017

Experts worry criminal-records law violations aren’t being caught – Boston Globe

"Just 10 people or organizations in the past five years were found to have flouted the state law that regulates access to and use of personal criminal records, prompting concerns that companies are getting away with violations.

'It’s hard to believe it’s only just a few people a year that are violating the law,' known as the Criminal Offender Record Information, or CORI, law, said Pauline Quirion, director of the CORI and Re-entry Project at Greater Boston Legal Services."

Please click here to read the Boston Globe article


March 7, 2017

Greater Boston Legal Services: Carrying on Boston’s Long-Held Tradition of Serving the Poor – Lawyers Clearinghouse

Take a look at this guest post written by Access to Justice Fellow John Carroll, who is working with The Equal Justice Coalition to compile a comprehensive history of civil legal aid organizations in Massachusetts. This fascinating piece details the creation and history of Greater Boston Legal Services.

Please click here to read the Lawyers Clearinghouse article


February 11, 2017

Lawmakers looking to lower prison recidivism 

Pauline Quirion, a lawyer and director of the criminal records sealing project at Greater Boston Legal Services, said reducing the number of years it takes to seal a criminal record and lowering probation fees will also help ex-convicts adjust to life on the outside.

“Asking someone who is indigent to pay $60 a month in probation fees, you may as well be asking them to pay $1 million,” she said. “They’re not going to be able to comply, and the sad thing is they will end up incarcerated again because they can’t pay it.”

Please click here to read the Gloucester Times article


February 5, 2017

Homeless Families Turn To Emergency Rooms For Shelter – WGBH News

"According to a complaint [GBLS] filed this January, one of the named plaintiffs, a mother of two girls, aged 7 and 9 and who is pregnant, was denied emergency assistance after the family was told they had to leave a friend’s house where they’d been staying. After spending the night sleeping on the floor of an un-named nonprofit, the complaint alleges, the family re-applied for state assistance.

'They still didn’t place her then, so the next night she went to the emergency room, having no other place to go, and stayed there,' says Ruth Bourquin a senior attorney at GBLS."

Please click here to read the WGBH News article


January 3, 2017

Prepare to dig in to preserve civil legal aid - Huffpost

"Civil legal aid is a powerful...tool that helps people living in poverty build a foundation of stability so they can create a better future for themselves, their families, and our communities. Any attempts to weaken or dismantle federal civil legal aid must be met with principled advocacy and resistance by the legal community, social justice activists, and civil rights organizations."

Please click here to read the Huffpost article


December 15, 2016

Baker administration accused of denying shelter to homeless mothers – The Boston Globe

Especially difficult to comprehend on frigid winter days like today. “Everybody agrees that it would be good to ensure that homeless families are in better placements than motels. But what’s happening is that they end up in places that are worse — not in shelter at all, or in far-flung places where their lives are further disrupted,” said Ruth A. Bourquin, one of the Greater Boston Legal Services lawyers who filed the suit. “It’s just getting to a real crisis point,” she said.

Please click here to read the Boston Globe article


December 11, 2016

How many evictions are there in Boston? No one really knows. – Boston Globe

Some tenant advocates were among those arguing against the court’s giving out bulk data in recent hearings on public access.

Mac McCreight, lead attorney for housing at Greater Boston Legal Services, which represents renters who face eviction, cautioned that aggregated court data is not always accurate or up-to-date. Moreover he worries some landlords might use it to “blacklist” tenants who have had a case filed against them, even if the eviction never wound up happening.

“Someone looking at an online system might make conclusions that are not accurate,” McCreight said. “And we hear reports about landlords who’ll say, ‘If I see someone’s name on the list, that’s it. I’m not going to rent to them.’ ”

Please click here to read the Boston Globe article


October 31, 2016

Precedent-Setting Win for Low-Income Tenants Creates 59 Affordable Housing Units in Boston – Yahoo! Finance

Affordable Housing Victory Achieved in Boston

A coalition including GBLS, City Life/Vida Urbana, pro bono law firms Goulston & Storrs, Jones Day, and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, the Department of Neighborhood Development, CEDAC, and the Boston Public Health Commission not only saved 59 families from being displaced from their homes, but also created 59 new permanently-affordable housing units in Dorchester and Mattapan. Through the sale of properties at Orlando and Waldeck streets from the bankrupt landlord to the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, the tenants are no longer at risk of displacement and homelessness and the affordable units have been preserved for the future.

Please click here to read the Yahoo! Finance article.


October 28, 2016

Mismanaged Dorchester, Mattapan properties secured as affordable housing through non-profit purchase – Dorchester Reporter

Please click here to read the Dorchester Reporter article.


October 28, 2016

Bankruptcy sale of five buildings preserves home for tenants - Boston Herald

Please click here to read the Boston Herald article


July 28, 2016

Dorchester, Mattapan tenants have had it with landlord who lets them live in squalor - Dorchester Reporter

These tenants have been living in deplorable conditions including “[m]ice and cockroach infestation, pervasive mold caused by leaks, no heat in the winter, no electricity, jammed doors, open gasoline canisters”. The landlord has failed to maintain his properties and is now in bankruptcy proceedings, which puts them at risk of eviction with no place to go because of the lack of affordable housing in Greater Boston. GBLS is representing them with the pro bono assistance of GBLS board member Andrew Troop of Pillsbury and John Hanify of supporting law firm Jones Day.

Please click here to read the August 3, 2016 Dorchester Reporter article


July 14, 2016

Advocates rip cuts in disability funding - the Boston Herald

Funding cuts by Governor Baker for poor people with disabilities, if not overidden by the Legislature, will have a devastating effect on thousands of vulnerable families across Massachusetts. GBLS attorney Sarah Levy and her client, a grandmother caring for her disabled granddaughter, are quoted in today's Boston Herald article.
"We're terribly worried because in our experience, SSI isn’t enough to meet the needs of a person who is disabled let alone subsidize the needs of the family,” said Attorney Levy.

Please click here to read the July 14, 2016 Boston Herald article


July 1, 2016

Advocates mystified as proposal to tighten nursing home oversight killed - the Boston Globe

“It’s a slap in the face to vulnerable nursing home residents and their families, and advocates,” said Wynn Gerhard, GBLS elder law Senior Attorney, after state lawmakers rejected a proposal to substantially raise maximum fines on troubled nursing homes.

Please click here to read the July 1, 2016 Boston Globe article