On Wednesday February 26th, CMS and its partner organizations, Woodside on the Move and Centro Hispano Cuzcatalan, gathered at St. Sebastian’s parish in Woodside, Queens for their monthly meeting. During the meeting, members received information about filing their taxes from a representative of Community Tax Aid; students from St. John’s Law School gave a presentation on obtaining citizenship and finally, students from CUNY Law School solicited feedback about a housing related policy proposal.
Judy Russell, a volunteer for Community Tax Aid, began the meeting by reminding members that the deadline to file taxes is April 15. She explained that CTA is a non-profit, all volunteer organization that provides free tax preparation services to single New Yorkers whose incomes are under $25,000 and families with incomes under $50,000. CMS invited CTA to speak to members because this organization has been serving the New York City community for over 40 years. Judy encouraged members to file taxes regardless of immigration status because it is the law and, more additionally some people may be entitled to a tax credit depending on marital status and family size.
Students from St. John’s Law School informed guests about the various processes involved in lawfully adjusting immigration status. They explained requirements , procedures and benefits of : Legal Permanent Residency; TPS, Asylum ; U-Visas; VAWA and Naturalization . They emphasized that CMS’ staff and attorneys are able to assist members file all of these applications in their Brooklyn and Queens locations.
The meeting concluded with an announcement from students from the CUNY Law School. These students are advocating for the amendment of current laws relating to maintenance of rental units in NYC. Currently, the law permits landlords to take tenants to court and collect rent even if violations are not fixed.The law does not force landlords to show certification that a housing violation has been fixed before commencing a non-payment eviction proceeding. CUNY law students explained this area of the law and asked for feedback from members about a potential amendment to the law which would prohibit landlords from commencing non-payment evictions proceedings when they fail to comply with certain housing maintenance standards.
The next QHC meeting will be March 26th at St.Sebastian Parish in Woodside, Queens.
For more information about Community Tax Aid and how you can file your taxes with their assistance click here.