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CMS and its Housing Coalition Partners Gather for their First Meeting of 2014

LIFT Family Resource Coordinator Shamika Vargas speaks to members about family law .

On Wednesday, January 29th CMS and it’s Housing Coalition partners held their first meeting of 2014. The meeting took place at St. Sebastian Parish in Woodside, Queens where representatives from Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT) and Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA) informed members about family law and non-rent fees respectively.

Kenny Minaya Staff Attorney at CMS started the meeting by making members aware of a recently detected pattern of harassment by BRG management, a local Queens landlord. CMS has observed that multiple tenants residing in BRG-owned buildings have been taken to housing court on erroneous charges. Kenny spoke about representing some BRG tenants in housing court and recognizing a pattern of harassment and baseless accusations. He reminded members of their basic right as tenants and he reiterated that if they or anyone else they knew was being bullied by BRG or any other landlord they should contact CMS.

Shamika Vargas Family Resource Coordinator at Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT) spoke to members about family law and the resources which LIFT provides to community members so that they can empower themselves and self-advocate in Family Court and other public agencies.She informed members that LIFT provides in court services which can answer your questions, assist in the completion of court documents and help people understand court orders. For ongoing one on one support LIFT’s Family Legal Center provides legal information and assistance for parents and grandparents who do not have lawyers to advocate for themselves in child support, custody and visitation cases. Shamika emphasized that LIFT’s Family Law Hotline provides answers to questions related to family law, Family Court procedure, child welfare policy, child support regulations. She urged members to use LIFT’s resources not only for their family law related issues but in order to get referrals to public benefits as well.