Staff Attorney – Homelessness Prevention
The Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, a nonprofit civil legal services program, is seeking an experienced housing attorney to prevent homelessness in the five county service area of the Albany Office: Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Columbia and Greene Counties. The position is located in Albany, NY, the state capital, and a lively family friendly city with a reasonable cost of living, excellent quality of life, and easy access to major metropolitan areas as well as year-round outdoor opportunities.
Our mission is to fight for fairness, dignity, and justice for those living in poverty and for a society which is inclusive and equitable for all. We transform lives, build community and empower people by using the law to address individual and systemic wrongs and inequities.
We seek an attorney who will be dedicated to our mission and will seek justice and fairness for the households at risk of homelessness and living in unsafe and substandard housing. We are skilled, creative and compassionate advocates combining a passion to serve with the skills and will to address both individual and systemic injustice. Our office is a collegial and supportive workplace, encouraging and supporting staff development. We take pride in providing holistic services to our clients with a wide range of programs and substantive law expertise.
We are an integral part of the legal and human service community and expect this attorney to be deeply involved in the network of government, community members, housing and shelter providers and others dedicated to ending homelessness and creating safe and affordable housing for low income people in upstate New York.
Responsibilities: The attorney will provide legal assistance to eligible at risk households in he five county service area of the Albany office by preventing evictions, securing mainstream income benefits and making referrals to services which will enhance the household’s ability to maintain permanent housing.
The attorney will also represent tenants in the capital region living in substandard private housing who seek repairs and who are recipients of temporary assistance provided by the Department of Social Services (DSS) by enforcing their rights to safe and decent housing, through tenant education, demands for repair and rent withholding, Health and Code Enforcement involvement, and affirmative and defensive housing court representation. The attorney will work collaboratively with the Departments of Social Services in rent withholding, seeking and accepting referrals from DSS staff of tenants who complain to them about housing conditions. The attorney will improve the functioning of the existing systems of code enforcement, DSS and the legal system, to contribute to the overall maintenance of the housing stock in the capital region.
The attorney will provide legal assistance in maintaining or securing permanent housing and income necessary to retain permanent housing. Legal assistance will include eviction defense, affirmative and defensive actions to improve housing conditions, obtaining and maintaining public and subsidized housing tenancies and subsidies, addressing utility shut offs or denials of service, securing emergency assistance, ongoing temporary assistance and other income supports necessary to achieving housing stability and representing eligible tenants in support of campaigns to address the causes of their homelessness and economic insecurity. The attorney will be expected to provide a full range of legal services, including counsel and advice, representation in administrative hearings, affirmative and defensive litigation, systemic advocacy, community legal education, outreach and engagement and community lawyering. The attorney will also be expected to work collaboratively with community partner agencies and work as a team with other LASNNY staff serving capital region at risk and homeless households. The attorney will work collaboratively other LASNNY housing attorneys to ensure that efficient and effective legal assistance is provided which maximizes access to LAS services and addresses systemic issues that cause homelessness.
Requirements: Admission to New York State Bar. One to six years’ experience. Applicants must demonstrate a strong commitment to helping poor and disadvantaged people overcome institutional barriers to employment, safety, housing and income supports. Must be intelligent, hardworking, careful, reliable, have good judgment, attention to detail and a demonstrated commitment and sensitivity to the low-income community. Must be able to communicate effectively with clients and staff, work independently and efficiently and be able to problem solve and work collaboratively with community partner agency staff. Training or experience in community lawyering or community organizing or engagement, demonstrated strong listening and relationship building skills, experience, creativity and willingness to use varied legal and non-legal advocacy tools to advance community identified initiatives preferred. Must be willing to travel throughout the 16 county service area, and have a car and a clean valid New York driver’s license. Strong computer, administrative, reporting and data entry skills required. Ability to speak Spanish a plus.
Salary Range: $46,307 – $59,700 DOE We are a unionized program and our fringe benefits are excellent.
Application Deadline: Posted until Filled
Any applications that do not have a cover letter, resume and writing sample will not be considered.
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We are Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, the elderly, LGBTQ persons, Protected Veterans and people with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.