Together, we do the community justice.
       
 
Loading

ABLE:
Advocates for Basic Legal Equality on Facebook Advocates for Basic Legal Equality on Twitter Advocates for Basic Legal Equality on LinkedIn

LAWO:
LAWO on Facebook LAWO on Twitter LAWO on LinkedIn


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day


How are you recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) June 15?

The 7th Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is Friday, June 15, 2012 and organizations and individuals are encouraged to raise awareness about elder abuse by wearing purple and hosting elder abuse awareness activities.

Read more...

ELC Race4Justice

Race4Justice Results

Image 

Congratulations and thank you to all of the participants of the inaugural Race4Justice, held Saturday, June 23, 2012 in downtown Toledo.

Read more...

Bagels and Benefits: December 15

Do you have legal issues and can't afford a lawyer?

Do you think you may qualify for public benefits that you are not getting?

Are you unsure about how to apply for benefits?

Read more...

Illegal immigration arrests grow


Illegal immigration arrests grow
Ohio-region official: Law enforcement targets worst offenders

The following article written by Cornelius Frolik appeared Wednesday, July 18, 2012 in the Dayton Daily News. Read below, or view the contents on the DDN website. Mark Heller, Managing Attorney of ABLE's Migrant Farmworker and Immigration Programs is quoted in the article on the growing number of federal arrests for immigration related crimes in Ohio. 

Illegal immigration is the fastest growing federal arrest offense in Ohio, and convictions for immigration-related crimes in the state also have been rising, according to a Dayton Daily News analysis of federal data.

Federal law enforcement officials said they have focused on apprehending and prosecuting repeat immigration violators, criminal noncitizens and people who pose a threat to public safety.

Officials said they have adopted practical and effective enforcement measures to catch the worst undocumented offenders, including the finger-print identification program implemented at county jails across the Miami Valley and country.

Read more...

FALCON helps migrant farm families at Fremont event

FALCON helps migrant farm families at Fremont event

The following article, written by Kevin Milliken, appeared in La Prensa August 24, 2012. Read below, or view the article on La Prensa's website .

August 11, 2012: More than 200 migrant farmworkers and their families attended the annual Farmworker Appreciation Day at Conner Park just south of Fremont.

The annual summer event is put on each year by the Farmworker Agencies Liaison Communication and Outreach Network (FALCON), a coalition of about 20 government agencies and advocacy groups that work on behalf of the migrant population that travels here to work the fields each year. The group seeks to honor farmworkers in Northwest Ohio by hosting the free, family-friendly event with games, food, music, prizes, and entertainment.

"What they contribute to the economy—we just want to honor them for it," said Francisco Espinoza, Lucas County extension educator and FALCON chairman. "We just want to keep the focus on Ohio agriculture and this is one way to support it. We want to keep the non-farm communities informed of what's happening out here in the fields."

Read more...

New law aims to redeem some former convicts


New laws aim to redeem some former convicts

The following article, by Tricia Bell, appeared July 20, 2012 on hometownstations.com in Lima. Read below or view the article on their website.

According to Legal Aid of Western Ohio, two million people in the state have a criminal record. However, a new law could help some seeking redemption, achieve new goals.

Governor John Kasich signed the Collateral Sanctions Bill into law late last month.  The bill is often referred to as the Redemption Bill because it helps people with a criminal record get their driver license back, apply for professional licenses, or even wipe their records clean.

Read more...

Aid offered to residents of care home

Aid offered to residents of care home

The following article appeared August 14, 2012 in The Toledo Blade. Read below, or view the contents on The Blade's website.

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) is offering assistance to relocate residents from a Toledo nursing home the state has threatened to close.

State officials last week notified the Liberty Nursing Home, 2005 Ashland Ave., of plans to revoke its license because staff failed to prevent and respond to patient abuse, including a sexual assault last month. According an Ohio Department of Health complaint, Liberty's history of regulatory noncompliance dates to at least 2009.

Read more...

New Online Template Makes Creating Spanish Advance Directives Easy


New Online Template Makes Creating Spanish Advance Directives Easy

The rapid growth of Ohio's Hispanic population makes addressing the legal needs of Spanish-speakers more critical than ever. An important legal need for every individual is to have an advance directives document. In Ohio, "advance directives" is the term used to describe three types of legal documents that can be completed to express individual wishes regarding future health care: (1) a durable power of attorney for health care (HCPOA), (2) a living will, and (3) a declaration for mental health treatment. Advance directives can be an important tool to use as a guide for healthcare providers if a serious disease or injury leaves an individual unable to make their own health care decisions.

Read more...

Disciplining students


Disciplining students;
ABLE helping to maintain a "positive and safe learning environment for every student."

The following OpEd appeared Monday, May 7, 2012 in The Toledo Blade. Read below or view the article on The Blade's website .

Fewer young people are causing trouble and getting suspended or expelled from Toledo's public schools. But statistics suggest that black students still are more likely to lose school days as punishment than their white classmates.

School discipline is a difficult subject. Some people advocate the tough-love approach of zero tolerance. Students who break the rules, they say, need to know their actions have consequences. Those who follow the rules have the right to expect a positive learning environment.

Read more...

Law Day highlights financial limitations


Law Day highlights financial limitations
Speaker: Not enough legal help for the poor

The following article appeared Saturday, May 5, 2012 in The News-Messenger. Read below, or view on thenews-messenger.com.

Local attorneys and judges gathered Friday at Fremont Country Club to celebrate Law Day, an annual event established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958.

The keynote speaker at the Sandusky County Bar Association event at Fremont Country Club was Joseph Tafelski, director of Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, or ABLE. The nonprofit agency partners with Legal Aid of Western Ohio to provide legal assistance to low-income residents, something Tafelski said is greatly needed in the region.

Read more...

Ohio has fewer migrant workers


Ohio has fewer migrant workers
Experts cite immigration crackdown, fewer labor-intensive crops.

The following article, written by Cornelius Frolik, appeared Saturday, May 12, 2012 in the Dayton Daily News. ABLE Attorney Mark Heller is quoted in the story. Read below or view the contents on DDN's website.

The migrant worker population in the Miami Valley and Ohio is declining, according to new state census data, and some experts believe this is tied to changes in the agricultural economy and fears over tougher immigration enforcement. Farm acreage in Ohio devoted to some types of labor-intensive crops is shrinking, resulting in reduced demand for migrant workers to harvest the fields, experts said.

Mexico's economy also has improved, and some migrant workers from south of the border may have returned home because of work opportunities. Net immigration from Mexico to the United States has come to a standstill because so many people are returning home, according to new studies.

But some migrant advocacy groups warned not to read too deeply into the state census data because they contend its collection method does not accurately capture the true number of migrant workers in the state.

Read more...

Welfare drug test proposal continues to be debated


Welfare drug test proposal continues to be debated;
Ohio proposal withdrawn, but more scrutiny likely.

The following article, written by Jackie Borchardt, appeared Saturday, May 19, 2012 in the Dayton Daily News. Read below, or view on DDN's website .

A proposal to drug test welfare recipients has been in the works for more than a year but didn't get much attention in the Statehouse until last week when Republican senators slipped it into the governor's major policy reform bill.

Lawmakers removed the proposal just 24 hours later but said the idea is worth more scrutiny in a separate, standalone bill sponsored by Sen. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster. Gov. John Kasich initially withheld from commenting on the proposal but told reporters he supported testing people suspected of drug abuse.

The proposed two-year, three-county pilot program would include participants in the Ohio Works First program, which provides cash benefits to Ohioans who earn no more than 50 percent of the federal poverty level for up to 36 months. The federal poverty level is $19,010 per year for a family of three. Food stamps, housing aid and other federal programs were not included.

One county — Crawford County in north central Ohio — has volunteered to be one of three pilot counties but leaders in other counties say they're eager to see the results in their communities.

Read more...

Proposal to register foreclosures stirs debate


Proposal to register foreclosures stirs debate
City law would target vacant, blighted houses

The following article, by Claudia Boyd-Barrett appeared April 26, 2012 in The Toledo Blade. ABLE attorney George Thomas is quoted in the article. Read below, or view the contents on The Blade's website .

A proposal to require mortgage lenders to register properties in foreclosure with the City of Toledo attracted both praise and condemnation during a council hearing Wednesday.

Several councilmen and a local legal advocate expressed strong support for the proposed legislation, which aims to combat the problem of vacant and blighted housing in the city. But Bell administration officials doubted the effectiveness of the measure and said it could create more work for an already strained inspections department. City Realtors, meanwhile, said it could bog them down with red tape and fees, and hamper their ability to get properties resold.

Read more...

Consumer Groups Dial Up Opposition To Telecom Bill


Consumer Groups Dial Up Opposition To Telecom Bill

The following appeared on the Gongwer News Service, March 26, 2012.

Advocates for seniors and low-income Ohioans called on the House Monday to kill a proposal to deregulate phone companies that already passed the Senate earlier this month with minimal opposition.

The coalition of consumer groups said the bill (SB 271*), which would allow incumbent telephone companies withdraw basic landline service if they show competition exists in an exchange, would fall heavily on the elderly, poor and rural Ohioans, who can't afford more costly wireless options.

For its part, the telecom industry continued to argue that "carrier of last resort" (COLR) requirements for landline service divert job-creating investments in more high-tech communications technology to old-fashioned wire technology for which demand is dwindling.

Led by AARP, the opposition coalition includes the Ohio Poverty Law Center, Appalachian Peace and Justice Network, Legal Aid Society of Southwestern Ohio, Pro Seniors, Center for Rural Strategies, Edgemont Neighborhood Coalition, and Communities United for Action.

Read more...

Local families struggle under welfare rules


Local families struggle under welfare rules
State, facing $130M federal fine, trims numbers of recipients

The following article, written by Kate Giammarise, appeared April 22, 2012 in The Toledo Blade. Read below, or view the article on The Blade's website .

Amy Lingo and her 3-year-old son Jesse live a threadbare existence in a mobile home park in West Toledo -- no cell phone, no cable television, no "extras," she said.

But soon, she could lose one of her few lifelines -- $368 a month in cash assistance.

Ms. Lingo and thousands of others like her are at the center of Ohio's struggle to avoid a looming $130 million federal welfare penalty.

The number of Ohioans receiving welfare has dropped by more than 26 percent -- more than 62,000 people -- since the beginning of last year to levels not seen since October, 2007, before the onset of the recession.

But advocates for the poor say those leaving the welfare rolls aren't finding steady jobs and are being booted off by county assistance offices and a state agency racing to avoid the fine.

Read more...

Foreclosure affects fewer homes in Toledo area


Foreclosure affects fewer homes in Toledo area

The following article, written by Jon Chavez, appeared April 25, 2012 in The Toledo Blade. Read the contents below, or view on The Blade's website .

Home foreclosure activity in the Toledo area during the first quarter decreased from the previous quarter and from the same period a year ago, bucking a national trend of rising foreclosure-related actions, a report released today indicated.

Between January and March, 1,511 homes were in some stage of the foreclosure process in metro Toledo, down 25 percent from last year's fourth quarter and down 6.8 percent from the first quarter a year ago, according to RealtyTrac, a real estate data firm in Irvine, Calif.

One of every 199 housing units locally had either received a notice of default or default pending or a notice of trustee sale or foreclosure sale, or had been foreclosed and repurchased by a bank, according to the report by RealtyTrac.

Toledo ranked 64th in foreclosure activity out of the nation's 212 metro areas whose populations are 200,000 or more.

Read more...

Mental-health care services face cuts


Mental-health care services face cuts; Board must pare at least $1.7M

The following article written by Kate Giammarise appeared February 9, 2012 in The Toledo Blade. Read below, or view on The Blade's website. ABLE Executive Director Joe Tafelski is quoted in the article.

Mental-health care providers and advocates are warning that looming cuts at the county's Mental Health & Recovery Services Board will mean tough choices and fewer services for the mentally ill and their families.

The board has an anticipated deficit of $1.7 million to $2.2 million for the fiscal year that begins in July, Scott Sylak, the agency's executive director, said.

State funding to the board of about $3.1 million over the last two years has been eliminated, which represents about 16 percent of the board's budget. Declining property values have eaten away at levy income; it is projected to fall a total of about $980,000 in the current and next fiscal years.

Read more...

Most of Brand Whitlock's ex-residents staying in Toledo


Most of Brand Whitlock's ex-residents staying in Toledo

The following story, written by Kate Giammarise, appeared February 27, 2012 in The Toledo Blade. Read below, or view on The Blade's website .

When it was time to leave the Brand Whitlock Homes, Tonya Duncan knew she wanted a better neighborhood -- one that she hoped would be less violent than the central city.

Ms. Duncan and her three children didn't go very far. They now live in South Toledo in the 43609 ZIP code. She wanted to remain close to her daughter's school -- she has a scholarship to Central Catholic High School -- and close to her mother, who is 65 and has health problems.

Ms. Duncan, 37, and her family are typical of many former residents of Brand Whitlock Homes.

The complex, along with the adjacent Albertus Brown Homes, is being torn down as part of a redevelopment project.

The vast majority of former residents -- about 97 percent -- still live within the city of Toledo, with very few moving to suburban addresses, a Blade analysis of data from the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority shows. More than 200 families relocated, leaving the Brown and Brand Whitlock Homes between May, 2011, and January of this year. Residents could either move to another site owned by LMHA or use a Housing Choice Voucher, known as a Section 8 voucher, to rent a privately owned house or apartment. Most chose a voucher.

Read more...

Donate Blood: Save Lives and Support ABLE


Donate Blood: Save Lives and Support ABLE

With your help, ABLE could be the recipient of $1,000 or more – up to $20,000! 

Plan now to donate blood to the American Red Cross during the 2012 Toledo Rotary Blood Donation Week Challenge Grant. Not only will you be helping the Red Cross save lives, but you could be benefitting ABLE as well.  The more people who give blood and enter the drawing, the bigger chance ABLE has of being selected as a recipient of thousands of dollars – every little bit helps!

Read more...

Agency to fast-track disability benefits; Ohio settlement calls for timely review.


Agency to fast-track disability benefits; Ohio settlement calls for timely review.

The following article, written by Erica Blake, appeared December 31, 2011 in The Toledo Blade. Read below, or view the article on The Blade's website.

Thousands of disabled Ohioans who had been in limbo waiting for health-care benefits to start are now guaranteed their applications will be reviewed in a more timely matter, according to a recent federal court ruling.

A class action lawsuit filed in March, 2010, in U.S. District Court in Toledo was settled by consent decree this month, concluding a months-long legal battle and a years-long problem, advocates said.

The settlement requires the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to automatically enroll in Medicaid any individuals whose applications have been pending more than 90 days, and directs the agency to work toward permanently eliminating lengthy waits.

"At the time the case was filed, there were more than 22,000 applications pending with the ODJFS for more than 90 days, with some in excess of one year," said W. David Koeninger, a lawyer with Toledo-based Advocates for Basic Legal Equality Inc.

Read more...

Equal access to justice: The impact of Ohio's legal aid societies.


Equal access to justice: The impact of Ohio's legal aid societies.

The following article, written by Stephanie Beougher, appeared in the January/February 2012 Ohio Lawyer publication.

It offers a "personal look into four individual cases reveals the life-changing effects and momentous importance of legal aid services in Ohio." LAWO attorney Joseph Warden is featured in one of the stories.

Read more...