Posted May 28, 20217:42 am
On May 5, 2021, Legal Aid held it's second annual Public Officials Reception. This year's event was held over Zoom to adhere with current COVID-19 public health guidelines. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown delivered keynote remarks.
The program highlighted Legal Aid’s work throughout the last year to promote justice and fairness and addressed how public officials are critical to Legal Aid’s work. Legal Aid attorneys discussed new initiatives (such as the Worker Information Line, which provides guidance on employment and unemployment questions) and new service delivery methods (such as Virtual Advice Clinics, which replaced our in-person neighborhood clinics) to meet clients’ changing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senator Brown discussed his efforts as chair of the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, including a recent bipartisan round table during which a constituent said, “they call me essential, but I feel expendable.” The roundtable was designed to address issues from people self-described as “working poor,” who are one emergency away from homelessness. Brown noted that the pandemic caused thousands of people to face an emergency all at once. He also noted that Legal Aid’s eviction prevention work, including the Right to Counsel program in Cleveland, was and continues to be a lifeline for so many people in Northeast Ohio.
“As local leaders, you know your communities best,” Brown said, adding that in the American Recovery Plan, money for eviction prevention and housing supports were going directly to local governments rather than being funneled through the states.
“We have an opportunity with this committee to invest in communities that have been left on their own by state government,” said Senator Brown. In a departure from his long-time focus on banking, Senator Brown had recently held the Committee's first hearing on housing issues in over nine years. Addressing the Legal Aid audience, Senator Brown said, "You share your stories with each other, with me, with Senator Portman, with your house members – it makes all the difference in the world.”
You can watch the entire program below: