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


Celebrating Earth Day at the Center for Equal Justice

Image

Celebrating Earth Day on April 22 and ABLE and LAWO's receipt of Gold LEED Certification are Toledo City Council Member and President Joe McNamara, LAWO Executive Director Kevin Mulder, ABLE and LAWO Boards' President Laurie Pangle, Robert Dehne and Steve Johnson of the Northwest Ohio Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, ABLE Executive Director Joe Tafelski, and Paul Hollenbeck of The Collaborative.

Legal Aid Presents 2010 Access to Justice Awards

MAY 18, 2010

Legal Aid Presents 2010 Access to Justice Awards

The Access to Justice Awards Dinner, celebrating the great work of legal aid and pro bono programs in northwest Ohio, attracts more than 600 attendees including local and regional community leaders, public officials, attorneys, judges, and community advocates.

Scheduled for Wednesday, May 26, at the Crowne Plaza Toledo, this year’s recipient of the Community Advocacy Award is Betty A. Lewis-Amison for her exceptional efforts made on behalf of disadvantaged persons and communities. The Public Interest Law Award recipient is Vincent M. Nathan, an attorney who has provided outstanding advocacy on behalf of disadvantaged persons and groups. In addition, three Distinguished Service Awards to Hon. James G. Carr, R. Jeffrey Bixler, and Thomas L. Young for their commitment to the mission and work of legal aid in northwest Ohio.
 

Read more...

CLE: Debt Collection Defense & the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act


SEMINAR: Debt Collection Defense & the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

DATE: Thursday, May 20, 2010
TIME: 10:00 – 3:30 p.m.
LOCATIONS: LAWO offices in Toledo, Dayton, Mansfield
 

Read more...

Toledo City Council vote is sought on utility-bill collection


APRIL 13, 2010

Toledo City Council vote is sought on utility-bill collection
Law would let firms try to obtain $18.7M owed

The following article appeared April 13, 2010 in The Toledo Blade. ABLE Attorney Toby Fey is quoted in the article. Read below, or view on The Blade's Web site.

By TOM TROY

Mayor Mike Bell's administration soon may put more collection firms to work to collect $18.7 million in delinquent water and sewer bills under an ordinance that could be voted out of a City Council committee Tuesday.

Councilman Joe McNamara said yesterday he will seek a vote on a measure held up since last year over concerns the collection agencies might use abusive practices to collect unpaid utility bills.
 

Read more...

Cool Cities Toledo Tour


APRIL 23, 2010

Cool Cities Toledo Tour

From WGTE Knowledge Stream

 

The Green Building for Cool Cities Toledo Tour took place on March 15, 2010 at the new Lucas County Arena. The event featured three LEED projects: The Lucas County Multi-Purpose Arena, awaiting LEED certification for new construction, The Center for Equal Justice Building, newly designated LEED Gold for its major renovation of the 1926 building...

Read more...

Area agency delivers aid to those who need it most


APRIL 5, 2010

Area agency delivers aid to those who need it most

The following article appeared in the Sunday, April 4, 2010 edition of The Toledo Blade. AmeriCorps Member Craig Mossing and Managing Attorney Deb Jennings are quoted in the article. Read the story below or view on the Blade's Web site.

By TOM HENRY

Janice K. Dillon remembers a day when doctors made house calls with little black satchels that seemed to have a cure for everything.

Boy, times have changed.

While that kind of personal, in-home attention may be rare from doctors these days, there is a growing interest among service agencies to meet the disadvantaged and disabled at libraries, festivals, churches, senior centers, soup kitchens, Goodwill stores, housing shelters, and other places where people congregate - or even contacting them, as in Mrs. Dillon's case, with a house call.

Mobile Benefit Bank is a program created in 2009 by Advocates for Basic Legal Equality Inc., in conjunction with the Toledo Community Foundation, the United Way of Greater Toledo, and the Lucas County Department of Job and Family Services.

Here's how it works: Five AmeriCorps volunteers set up shop at their various locales across Lucas County on any given day with mobile technology that includes a laptop, scanner, printer, and air card (the latter allows them Internet access wherever they go).
 

Read more...

Citizenship Day


APRIL 8, 2010

ABLE Hosts Second Annual Citizenship Day Events
at the Center for Equal Justice

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) will participate in Citizenship Day 2010 on Saturday, April 17 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the new Center for Equal Justice in downtown Toledo.  Sponsored nationally by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), ABLE is a host-site for this single-day workshop being held around the country. Advance appointments are not necessary.

"ABLE attorneys and advocates will be available to provide assistance to lawful permanent residents eligible for naturalization," says Visalakshi (Sala) Gembala, a staff attorney with ABLE's Migrant Farmworker and Immigration Program.  Staffed by volunteer immigration attorneys, paralegals, interpreters and other community members, applicants will be able to consult with professionals and ensure that their documentation is complete.
 

Read more...

ABLE and Farmworker Liaison Group Hosts Consul of Mexico


APRIL 12, 2010

ABLE and Farmworker Liaison Group Hosts Consul of Mexico

The Migrant Farmworker and Immigration Program of Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) and Farmworker Agencies Liaison Communication and Outreach Network (FALCON) are hosting a reception for Vicente Sanchez Ventura, Consul of Mexico (Detroit office) on Friday, April 16, 2010 at the Center for Equal Justice in downtown Toledo, Ohio. The reception will follow a joint meeting of ABLE and FALCON where advocacy developments involving the local farmworker community will be discussed.  Following the joint meeting, the Consul will discuss services offered to Mexican nationals in Northern Ohio and how his office is planning to recognize this year’s bicentennial celebration of Mexico.
 

Read more...

Land banking will revitalize our housing market


MARCH 22, 2010

Land banking will revitalize our housing market

The following opinion article written by Wade Kapszukiewicz (Lucas County Treasurer) and Joshua Murnen (ABLE attorney and Equal Justice Works fellow) appeared March 22, 2010 in the Toledo Free Press. Read below or view on the Free Press Web site.

In December, the Ohio House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation that will allow Lucas County to create a land bank to help restore our local housing market. With a vote of 83-14, House Bill 313 passed with a resounding supermajority, a rare example of broad political consensus in an era marked by partisanship and legislative gridlock. Now the Ohio Senate has the opportunity to approve this bill for Gov. Strickland to sign. If it does, Lucas County will have the opportunity to use an extraordinary new tool to bring positive change to our region.
 

Read more...

Ohioans could pay more for worse phone service


MARCH 12, 2010

Ohioans could pay more for worse phone service

The following guest column appeared in the March 12, 2010 edition of the Dayton Daily News (DDN). The commentary was written by Ellis Jacobs, a senior attorney at Advocates for Basic Legal Equality in Dayton who often represents clients in telecommunications matters. Read below, or view on the DDN Web site.

As if households in Ohio aren’t under enough financial stress, now the Ohio House and Senate are considering legislation that could make it harder to pay monthly home telephone bills.

If passed, the legislation would deregulate Ohio’s land-line telephone companies, allow residential rates to increase and weaken consumer protections and service quality.
 

Read more...

Suit alleges excessive delays of health care


MARCH 15, 2010

Suit alleges excessive delays of health care
Federal court filing targets state agency

The following appeared March 15, 2010 in The Toledo Blade. ABLE attorneys David Koeninger and Bob Cole were quoted in the article. Read the story below, or view on The Blade's Web site.

By ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

When Victoria Bigelow began the process of acquiring Medicaid benefits through the state of Ohio, she was having liver problems.

She required back therapy. She was unable to work because of pain.

Now, 18 months later and still waiting, she feels desperate, she said.

Advocates say Ms. Bigelow is one of thousands of Ohioans who have been denied timely health-care benefits.

Like Ms. Bigelow, applicants wait months and sometimes years, according to a lawsuit filed recently in U.S. District Court in Toledo.
 

Read more...

Attorney General Holder Speaks at LSC Black History Month Observance


MARCH 3, 2010

Attorney General Holder Speaks at LSC Black History Month Observance

From LSC:

The Legal Services Corporation and the Justice Department are partners in "our country's ongoing pursuit of justice," Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., said today in a keynote address at LSC's Black History Month celebration.

"In the last 35 years, LSC has proven to be one of our nation's most effective agents for meaningful change. You all empower Americans who are struggling to live with dignity, who want to keep their jobs, who want to stay in their homes and who want to secure the basic necessities for their families. Quite simply, you change and you improve lives. And you've succeeded in pushing our nation toward progress and toward fairness. These are the achievements we've gathered here today to celebrate," the Attorney General said.

Congress established LSC in 1974 to promote equal access to justice and to ensure the delivery of high-quality civil legal services to the nation's poor. The Corporation is the single largest funder of civil legal aid, providing grants to 136 independent nonprofit legal aid programs across the country.
 

Read more...

Lack of Release Plan for Prisoners with Mental Illness Endangers Communities


FEBRUARY 10, 2010

Lack of Release Plan for Prisoners with Mental Illness
Endangers Ohio Communities and Wastes Taxpayer Money, Lawsuit Says

Press release from Ohio Justice & Policy Center:

CINCINNATI – A class action lawsuit, Serenity L. v. ODRC, filed today in federal court faults the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Ohio Department of Mental Health for releasing prisoners with serious mental illness without links to necessary follow-up care.  The lawsuit claims that this inadequate release process violates the Americans with Disability Act, as well as state laws and the U.S. Constitution.

Prisoners with mental illness return to Ohio’s cities with just two weeks of essential medications, $65, and a bus ticket.  They often end up in homeless shelters or other unstable situations.
 

Read more...

Ohio suit demands postrelease care for mentally ill


FEBRUARY 11, 2010

Ohio suit demands postrelease care for mentally ill

The following appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer and on The Toledo Blade Web site. Read below, or view the contents on The Blade's Web site.  

   By DAN HORN
   CINCINNATI ENQUIRER

CINCINNATI - Mentally ill prisoners in Ohio are more likely to get into trouble and end up back in prison after they are released because state officials turn them loose without the follow-up care they need, a federal lawsuit claimed yesterday.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, asked a judge to order the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Ohio Department of Mental Health to provide the care necessary to help keep mentally ill offenders from returning to prison.

Advocates for prisoners and the mentally ill said they are suing to help not only the released prisoners, but also the taxpayers who must pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to keep them locked up when they commit new crimes and are sent back to prison.
 

Read more...

Group Sues Over Care Of Mentally Ill Inmates


FEBRUARY 12, 2010

Group Sues Over Care Of Mentally Ill Inmates

The following appeared on NBC5, WLWT in Cincinnati. To view the video for this story visit the WLWT Web site.

ImageA Tri-State group is suing the state of Ohio, claiming mentally ill prison inmates are neglected by the system and are being released into the community without the help they need.

The Ohio Justice and Policy Center in Cincinnati estimates there could be thousands of mentally ill former inmates walking the streets right now and they could be a threat to themselves and others.

A lawsuit filed by the group alleges that some of the most mentally ill people living on the streets were left there by the Ohio Department of Corrections. The lawsuit claims ex-convicts with mental problems get $65 to $75, a bus ticket and two weeks of medication upon their release.

Read more...

Lawsuit: Ohio fails to help mentally ill parolees


FEBRUARY 12, 2010

Lawsuit: Ohio fails to help mentally ill parolees

The following appeared February 12, 2010 on Cincinnati Fox19. View the contents below, or on Fox19's Web site.

Ohio is violating the constitutional rights of mentally ill inmates by releasing them without proper access to follow-up care, a prisoners' rights group alleged in a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Nine former inmates said in the lawsuit the state was making it harder to meet the conditions of their release by not adequately helping them obtain housing, food stamps, Medicaid, disability benefits and other assistance.

The suit says inmates with mental illness often are released into communities that have few services for psychiatric disorders and prisoners are often not assigned to meet a doctor for months after their release.

The result is a revolving door that leads to mentally ill inmates returning to prison at a much higher rate than other inmates, raising concerns about public safety and the expense to taxpayers of re-incarcerating the individuals, according to the suit filed by the Cincinnati-based Ohio Justice and Policy Center.
 

Read more...

City restores water to blameless family


FEBRUARY 16, 2010

City restores water to blameless family

The following story, featuring George Thomas (LAWO), appeared online in The Toledo Journal on February 16, 2010. Read below, or view the contents on The Toledo Journal Web site.

A Luckey, Ohio, man's bankruptcy resulted in 17 days of no water for a Toledo woman and her family.

But thanks to a judge's ruling, the water was back on Feb. 12 for Sabrina Marshall, who has resided at 935 Woodstock Ave. for more than 10 years under a land-contract. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Richard L. Speer lifted a stay on Feb. 11, in effect ordering the city's Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to offer water service to that address.
 

Read more...

Mental health board hears appeals from officials

FEBRUARY 9, 2010

Mental health board hears appeals from officials

The following article appeared February 9, 2010 in The Toledo Blade. ABLE Executive Director Joe Tafelski was quoted in the story. Read below or view the contents on The Blade's Web site.

By TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

Some of the agencies that depend on the Lucas County Board of Mental Health and Recovery Services for funding took turns yesterday appealing to be spared cuts that could be ordered to balance the board's 2011 budget.

Among them was ABLE, or Advocates for Basic Legal Equality Inc. The agency used the $100,000 this year from the levy-funded mental-health board to help disabled people recover in court more than $900,000 in Social Security benefits in the last six months.

"My concern is what's going to happen with those clients. That's money to pay rent," said Joe Tafelski, executive director of ABLE. He said that service, performed by a lawyer and a paralegal, would end if the funding dries up.
 

Read more...

Sold again, property deteriorates


FEBRUARY 8, 2010

Sold again, property deteriorates while bouncing from owner to owner
Ebay auction is latest deal for house in central Toledo

The following appeared February 8, 2010 in The Toledo Blade. ABLE attorney Josh Murnen is quoted in the story. Read the article below, or view on The Blade's Web site.

By GARY T. PAKULSKI
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

It was advertised on the Internet auction site eBay as an investment property - a "huge duplex" on a Toledo block that has a pair of newly constructed houses.

The two-family house at 641 Palmwood Ave. attracted 18 offers, including a winning bid of $2,325, according to eBay.

But in this auction, the losers may have been the winners.

Six weeks after the sale and nine days after new owners took title to the house, a review of court files, property records, and documents at the city of Toledo's division of housing code enforcement paints a picture of a long vacant house that has bounced from owner to owner with no one taking responsibility for restoring it to habitability.
 

Read more...

OLAF Just Dealings


JANUARY 4, 2010

OLAF Just Dealings

ABLE and LAWO's A2J application process is featured in this article of Just Dealings published by OLAF.  Deb Jennings (Managing Attorney, Legal Aid Line) is quoted throughout the article.

Are we there yet?

JANUARY 7, 2010

Are we there yet?
Community members speak out about driving Toledo's progress forward

The following article appeared in the January 2010 edition of Toledo City Paper. ABLE Executive Director, Joe Tafelski, was interviewed for the story. Read below, or view the contents on the City Paper's Web site.
With Mayor Mike Bell’s new administration now in office, hopes are high that needed change is coming to Toledo. With the lingering tough economy and the threat of “brain drain”, it’s easy to question if we are moving forward. TCP spoke with community members who shared their insight on Toledo’s potential, changes to come in 2010, and what everyone can do to help our fair city.
 

Read more...