Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS)

Filed Under: CORI, Domestic Violence, Employment, Housing, Legal, LGBTQ+, Physical and Mental Health
Location
197 Friend Street
Boston, ma 02114
Phone
Phone: 617-371-1234
TDD: 617-371-1228
Toll-free: 800-323-3205
Fax: 617-371-1222
Online
Website
Who to Contact
Intake Worker
Services

Due to COVID-19, GBLS’ offices in Boston and Cambridge are closed to the public and their staff is working remotely assisting new and existing clients. If you are seeking services for the first time, please contact the Eastern Region Legal Intake (ERLI) at 617-603-1700 or call GBLS at 617-371-1234. Intake hours for problems that are not emergencies are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 9:00am-12:30pm or Tuesday, Thursday 12:30-3:30pm. ERLI also offers online intake which can be found here: https://vlpnet.org/get-help/. For CORI record sealing help, see below.

Emergencies are directed to an advocate all day. If there is a very high volume of calls, you may be on hold for a period of time, but someone will eventually answer the call.

For help with criminal and juvenile record sealing, expungement & CORI problems: Email cori@gbls.org or leave a message with your name, address and phone number at 617-603-1797 (please call between 9:00am and 5:00pm Monday to Friday)

GBLS does not handle criminal cases. It provides free legal representation and legal advice to low-income individuals and families in civil cases. GBLS also engages in systemic litigation, class actions, and legislative advocacy on behalf of its clients.

Major areas related to CORI and low-income people trying to transition to the workforce include:

CORI & Re-entry Project: GBLS is a statewide leader on legal issues related to CORI and the only legal services program focused on legal representation of clients in court on CORI issues and legal advice on criminal record sealing, expungement, appeals of denials of CORI sealing petitions, juvenile record sealing problems, professional licensing problems, CORI barriers and discrimination related to jobs and other opportunities, including EEOC or other CORI law violations; and CORI systemic initiatives related to implementation of CORI laws or new legislation. The Project provides community legal education focused primarily on Dorchester and Roxbury. In addition to help with CORI, GBLS has units that help low income people with other kinds of legal issues.

Employment Unit: GBLS represents clients in unemployment insurance claims (including extended unemployment benefits to participate in vocational training) and wage and hour violations against employers that exceed $1,000.

Health & Disability Issues: GBLS helps with termination of benefits related to a criminal warrant; access to government disability benefits.

Housing Unit: GBLS provides eviction help for tenants, home foreclosure prevention, preservation of affordable housing, access to and preservation of shelter for the homeless, and representation of people with children living in a shelter who are denied priority status or who are denied eligibility because of CORI or tenant suitability; housing transfers related to domestic abuse (VAWA).

Other areas of legal practice:

Asian Outreach Project: Special outreach to Chinese and Vietnamese speaking clients and legal assistance to Asian immigrants in the areas of employment and family law; representation of client groups in community empowerment initiatives.

Children’s Disability Project: Provides representation to children with disabilities wrongfully denied Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Consumer Rights Unit: Unfair and deceptive consumer practices, particularly related to debt collection, home foreclosures, and bankruptcies.

Elder Law issues: Includes housing, elder abuse, nursing home issues; guardianship; Social Security; MassHealth and access to healthcare; veterans’ benefits, Food Stamps, SSI, federal and state disability benefits.

Family law/domestic violence: Provides representation in divorce, restraining order and family law court matters for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to address safety issues and family and economic stability.

Immigration Unit: Researches asylum claims for people fleeing political, gender-based, and/or LGBT persecution, obtaining legal immigrant status for battered women and minor children.

Welfare Unit: Includes obtaining and retaining TAFDC and EAEDC cash benefits, SNAP/Food Stamp benefits, childcare and education/training benefits, and issues related to any of these benefits.

GBLS is considering different ways to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check the website for updates: GBLS Services during the Coronavirus.

GBLS also represents community groups and provides community legal education and legislative advocacy for clients.

Service hours

Monday - Friday: 9:00am - 5:00pm

People who have not yet done intake are asked to call during the following times if it is not an emergency. Intake hours for non-emergency problems are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 9:00am-12:30pm or Tuesday, Thursday 12:30-3:30pm.

Other Locations

Cambridge/Somerville Office
60 Gore St., Suite 203, Cambridge, MA 02141, 617-603-2700; TDD: 617-494-1757

Roxbury Courthouse
85 Warren St. Roxbury, MA
Walk-in clinics on the 3rd Thursday of the month from 9:00am – 12:00pm will resume after COVID-19 emergency is lifted.

Dorchester Courthouse
410 Washington St. Dorchester, MA
Walk-in clinics on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month from 9:00am – 12:00pm will resume after COVID-19 emergency is lifted

Requirements & Restrictions

Agency serves residents of Boston and 31 surrounding cities and towns, mostly within Route 128. Complete listing of geographic areas served is on web site. Income limitations (usually restricted to persons with incomes less than 125% of federal poverty guidelines) are applicable, with the exception of elderly clients and Medicare beneficiaries who are not subject to the income guidelines.

Waiting time
Varies depending on volume.
Cost
Free
Languages

Interpreters are available for non-English speakers.

Transportation

While every effort is made to provide current and accurate information for the agency descriptions and hours of operation, it is recommended to call the agency to verify the information before visiting.

Last updated November 2, 2020

Alert

Agency information may have changed due to COVID-19. Please contact individual agencies to double-check their information.