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Help from Neighborhood Legal Services programs.

The elderly, disabled, and low income have a few different places to turn to for either free legal aid or for access to low cost programs. The firms can address a number of non-criminal concerns. If the non-profit Neighborhood Legal Services can’t help, then they may referrals to other agencies in the area. Another place to try is Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo. Together they provide assistance in several towns and counties, including Genesee, Niagara, Erie, Orleans and Wyoming.

Anyone who is having trouble in obtaining, or keeping their public benefits, can get assistance. Low income families can get help on the application process and in dealing with government agencies such as Department of Social Services or just the federal bureaucracy in general.

Specialists are available for dealing with different entitlements. There is legal support in applying for federal government resources, such as SNAP Food Stamps, Medicaid, or subsidized housing. Also, emergency financial support can be coordinated for rental evictions and Utility Shut-offs as well as Emergency Shelters.

So if you need representation at a hearing, then Neighborhood Legal Services can help there as well. The attorneys from the firm, and other staff such as paralegals, provide clients with free advice and help with applications if needed. In some cases, the firms may require small fees to be charged to individuals for this benefit advice.

Preventing homelessness, including evictions and foreclosures, is also another focus of Leal Aid in Buffalo and nearby counties such as Niagara. Too many people are receiving eviction notices from their landlords or foreclosure filings. Stopping this homelessness is always a focus.

They will represent low income clients that have been locked out of their home or are facing eviction. Or, if your apartment is unsafe due to health and safety issues, then support is available for that as well. Lawyers offer negotiation and legal advocacy to those that qualify.

The firm can help stabilize a clients’ housing situation. Staff may work with a landlord and/or the tenant to agree to a repayment plan on any back rent. They will coordinate and arrange for negotiation and advocacy. Or if the landlord does not make repairs, then a lawsuit may need to occur. The goal is to ensure there is safe housing in Erie County and to also prevent homelessness.




If and when needed, NLS - Neighborhood Legal Services represents individuals or families that are trying to move into public and subsidized housing. They will help clients retain or obtain housing subsidies or vouchers as well. Iin many cases, the non-profit law firms can also provide information and free advice about other landlord-tenant issues including leases, security deposits and even roommate situations.

Another focus is on coordinating emergency assistance for the needy. Staff can help people apply for funds or grants from their local county or state benefits office as well. There are programs, such as HEAP, that can help prevent utility shut-offs. Or apply for emergency help paying back rent. If you are being unfairly denied, then having an attorney at your side may help your application to get reviewed and processed.

Some limited help may be available for Family Law. This part of Neighborhood Legal Services offers some or all of the following services in Orleans, Genesee, Erie, and other counties. They can help survivors of domestic violence and offer limited support for divorce or child custody filing. If and when needed, the firm will also assist grandparents and other relatives to obtain custody of their children in the New York State Family Court system.




Several other services can be addressed by NLS, such as advice on applying for disabled, social security, or Medicare. They can assist immigrants in the Buffalo region and deal with employment terminations or discriminations. Much more is available. The main offices are as follows.

  • Neighborhood Legal Services of Erie County main center is at 237 Main Street, 4th floor, Buffalo, New York 14203, dial (716) 847-0650
  • Niagara Falls and County office is at 225 Old Falls Street, 3rd Floor, PO Box 844, Niagara Falls, New York 14302, call (716) 284-8831
  • 5073 Clinton Street Road, Batavia, New York 14020, telephone number is (585) 343-5450. They are involved in covering Orleans, Genesee & Wyoming Counties
  • Another non-profit is Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, 237 Main Street #1602, Buffalo, New York 14203, 716-853-9555


By Jon McNamara

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