Support for Grassroots Groups
NCLEJ has a strong track record of working with grassroots organizers and community-based advocates to enforce critical rights and improve the lives of low-income people through systemic change. We have shown that with a combination of supporting aggressive grassroots organizing and our focus on the rule of law, low-income children and their families see their access to vital benefits and other legal rights improved significantly.
We have supported organizers in their opposition to workfare, their fights against a welfare system that denies critical assistance to low-income families through bureaucratic chaos, their struggles to secure effective child care for low-wage working mothers, and their efforts to rid their homes of mold.
Highlights from our recent work with grassroots groups include:
- Collaborating with a wide range of grassroots partners, we are working to combat the lack of enforcement of basic wage protections for workers in New York.
- Working with low-income organizers based in the Upper Manhattan and South Bronx churches, we launched a successful class action lawsuit in federal court to address rampant mold and moisture in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) apartments. The organizers continue to fight to improve sub-standard conditions in NYCHA property and to ensure that NYCHA complies with the court order.
- Supporting Community Voices Heard’s (CVH) Westchester campaign to secure access to benefits, we have listened to the concerns of CVH members who face difficulty navigating a complex welfare system. Accordingly, we have visited public assistance and food stamp offices in New York City and Westchester to identify how the process can be made more user-friendly.
The Center has from the beginning adopted a very distinctive stance toward the poor people and organizations who were its clients. From its early work with the welfare rights movement of the 1960s, it regarded the people and groups whose cases it researched and litigated as partners.
– Frances Fox Piven, renowned social scientist, scholar, and activist