Join the VOLS COVID-19 Community Response

March 20, 2020
Join the VOLS Community Response to COVID-19
Dear colleague,
I am writing to update friends and colleagues of VOLS about the challenges facing our community in light of the COVID-19 crisis, how we are responding, how you can help out or how you can get help.
Volunteers of Legal Service stands by our clients, our partners, and our broader community during this time of unprecedented change. We have shifted to remote operations, announced legal hotlines, and re-launched our Unemployed Workers Project. Please read below for more.
As New Yorkers practice social distancing, many VOLS clients and community members are particularly impacted:
  • Small business owners are facing suspension of their operations and challenges paying the rent or supporting their employees.
  • Many VOLS immigration clients are low-wage service workers facing major disruptions, such as layoffs in the restaurant and hospitality industries or workplace safety concerns at under-resourced hospitals or health centers.
  • Seniors and older veterans are acutely affected by the crisis, susceptible to serious illness and facing increased isolation, limited mobility and restricted access to critical services.
  • Mothers in prison or jail cannot receive family visits and face new challenges to maintain contact with their children.
  • Students are facing new challenges to their safety, health, and education while schools are closed.
Every day VOLS is evaluating how we and our partners – in the legal community and at neighborhood-based groups – can best respond to the COCID-19 crisis:
  • Our staff are working remotely, continuing client service in most cases, and working to remove barriers to continued service where they exist.
  • We are ramping up virtual trainings, outreach, and client communications while our in-person legal clinics and presentations are suspended.
  • We are working with our pro bono partners at law firms and corporations to increase service to vulnerable New Yorkers, to conduct urgent legal research, and more.
  • We are evaluating and responding to changes in the public policy environment, and we are communicating to policy makers, to coalition partners, and to the public.
  • And we are making plans to re-launch the VOLS Unemployed Workers Project to make sure that New Yorkers can access the economic relief they need and are entitled to.
Here are three ways that you might be able to help New Yorkers in need:
  1. If you identify new challenges facing yourself, your families, or your community, please email your VOLS staff contact or submit your idea on our website: click here.
  2. Make a donation to support VOLS' response to Covid-19 and re-launch of the VOLS Unemployed Workers Project: click here.
  3. Forward this email and ask your friends to sign up for the VOLS e-newsletter: click here.
New Yorkers in legal need can contact VOLS for support through our Microenterprise Project, Elderly Project and Veterans Initiative, Immigration Project, Incarcerated Mothers Law Project, Children's Project, and our new Unemployed Workers Project:
  • Small businesses/ VOLS Microenterprise Project: (347) 521-5729
  • Seniors/ VOLS Elderly Project: (347) 521-5704
  • Older Veterans/ VOLS Veterans Initiative: (347) 521-5725
  • Immigrant Youth/ VOLS Immigration Project: (347) 521-5722
  • Main VOLS Office: (212) 966-4400
Thank you for being a VOLS partner and supporter. New Yorkers know how to rally together during our most challenging times. VOLS will provide regular updates as events unfold over the coming weeks.
Marcia Levy
Executive Director
Volunteers of Legal Service