Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services

shanice and her kids

GBLS Attorney Prevents Young Cambridge Family’s Eviction due to Public Housing Authority Accounting Error

Shanice, the young mother of a 7-year-old and a 2-year-old, was shocked and frightened when she received notice from the Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) that within 48 hours an eviction moving truck would be at her door. CHA alleged Shanice owed back rent, and had not appeared in court on her…

For over 40 years, Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services (CASLS) has provided free legal assistance to low income families and individuals residing in Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, Belmont, Woburn, and Winchester.

In August of 1996, in the face of deep federal cuts in funding for legal services and severe restrictions on the methods of advocacy and on whom could be served, CASLS merged with Greater Boston Legal Services, Inc. (GBLS). This merger redesigned our legal services delivery system to accommodate these new conditions and helped us to maximize the level and forms of legal assistance available to low income persons in our service area.

Direct Client Services

CASLS helps clients in our service area to gain access to some of the most basic necessities of life. This includes:

  • affordable housing
  • emergency assistance shelter for homeless families
  • state public benefits including cash assistance (TAFDC, EAEDC)
  • federal public benefits including SSI, SSDI and food stamps
  • child care vouchers and related non-cash benefits
  • MassHealth and other medical assistance programs

Read more about CASLS direct client services.

Community Partnerships

CASLS works closely with community organizations, government agencies, other legal service agencies and various service providers to better meet the needs of low income clients in our service area. We offer training on housing and benefits issues to other groups, work closely with community organizations seeking policy changes and raise funds for homeless prevention.

Read more about our work with community partners and our participation in various task forces and consortia.

Impact Advocacy

Representation in individual cases often gives CASLS’ advocates insight into systemic problems affecting their clients.  Armed with this insight and practical experience, CASLS advocates engage in legislative advocacy, administrative advocacy and representation of tenant and other groups seeking policy changes.

Read more about the impact advocacy efforts of CASLS.