Justice Bus rolls through Brooklyn: Legal Aid brings free legal resources to NYCHA residents

June 26, 2024 Robert Abruzzese, Courthouse Editor
A resident consults with a legal advisor from the Justice Bus during its stop in Brooklyn as part of the Legal Aid Society’s initiative to provide free legal resources to NYCHA residents. Photo courtesy of Legal Aid NYC
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The Legal Aid Society’s Community Justice Unit (CJU) continues its Mobile Justice Bus Tour in Brooklyn, which will provide free legal resources to NYCHA residents, on Thursday.

The Justice Bus is a mobile unit launched by the CJU to deliver essential legal services directly to communities in need. Originally created in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it now travels to various NYCHA locations throughout New York City, meeting residents where they live and offering critical support.

The CJU team will first visit the Tompkins Houses on Tompkins Avenue between Park Avenue and Myrtle Avenue from 1:15 – 3:15 p.m. They will then proceed to the Marcy Houses on Park Avenue between Marcy Avenue and Nostrand Avenue from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. This initiative aims to meet New Yorkers where they live and provide free legal resources.

Throughout the summer, the Mobile Justice tour will visit 31 NYCHA locations across New York City. This effort supports communities most affected by poverty, racism, over-policing, food scarcity, and housing shortages.

The Justice tour aligns with CJU’s mission to defend, educate and organize community members. In collaboration with the Crisis Management System (CMS), the tour connects residents with the Legal Aid’s Criminal Defense Practice, Civil Practice and Juvenile Rights Practice. Housing attorneys from Legal Aid’s Public Housing Unit will also be present to assist.

“Restoring and healing communities begins with meeting people where they are and recognizing the underlying systemic trauma they’re faced with and providing the tools to overcome it,” said Takeasha Newton, lead community organizer of the Community Justice Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “By bringing services and legal advice directly to community members that experience the most harm, CJU is doing its part, together with our Cure Violence Partners, to achieve a ‘safe summer’ and prevent gun violence in all of the city’s boroughs.”

CJU is the sole provider of wraparound legal services to the New York City Crisis Management System (CMS), a community-oriented violence prevention model addressing gun violence. CJU supports CMS sites citywide, educating Community Partners about their rights and navigating legal systems. They also mobilize communities against social injustices and disparities.

CJU’s work centers on communities impacted by gun violence, developing proactive strategies to reduce such violence through holistic legal representation. They conduct extensive outreach, including legal clinics and Know Your Rights trainings at over 30 Cure Violence/Crisis Management partner locations across New York City.

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