Key Takeaways

  • Patients at MGH healh centers in Revere, Everett and Charlestown will have expanded access to legal assistance
  • Collaboration with Lawyers for Civil rights will assist patients with legal challenges related to housing and other needs
  • Expansion builds on exisiting program at MGH Chelsea which began in 2003

We are proud to expand these vital medical-legal services to our patients in Revere, Everett and Charlestown, communities disproportionately impacted by [COVID-19] and the housing crisis.

Joan Quinlan
Vice President for Community Health, Massachusetts General Hospital 

BOSTON—Patients at Mass General health centers in Revere, Everett, and Charlestown will now have access to Lawyers for Civil Rights to help them obtain housing and income supports. This will double the capacity of the Legal Initiative for Care (LINC), an innovative medical/legal collaboration begun at the MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center 17 years ago.

LINC was launched in 2003 to improve the health and well-being of low-income families who are patients of the pediatric or adult primary care practices at MGH Chelsea with a mission of addressing the legal issues that affect a patient’s health. Attorney Laura Maslow-Armand has been providing legal services since the program’s inception, including representation to prevent eviction, applying for subsidized housing, advocating for special accommodations for patients with disabilities, appealing denial of disability awards, petitioning for guardianships and assisting eligible residents through the naturalization process.

Attorney Melanie Gleason is joining the team and will focus primarily on housing issues. If a patient has the resources and ability, Attorney Gleason helps them self-advocate by providing legal information and coaching to help them mediate and negotiate a conflict. If the patient needs additional support and there is legal action to be taken, she will assist more directly by representing them in their housing matter.

“Since the eviction moratorium is in place until at least mid-October, LINC has been assisting patients with housing needs such as mediating/negotiating with landlords about uninhabitable living conditions; helping patients understand and enforce their rights as tenants with or without a written lease; resolving conflicts and disputes with landlords, neighbors, and roommates—and more,” said Sarah Oo, director of Community Health Improvement at MGH Chelsea. “With this much-needed increase in capacity, we are better able to address the critical need of our patients at MGH Chelsea as well as our other health centers.”

“The negative impacts of housing instability, eviction and homelessness are seen across the country and in our local health centers every day,” said Joan Quinlan, Mass General’s vice president for Community Health. “Lack of safe, affordable housing has been linked to poor health outcomes as well as depression and long term mental health difficulties for children and adults. Now, with COVID-19, the situation is becoming even more dire. We are proud to expand these vital medical-legal services to our patients in Revere, Everett and Charlestown, communities disproportionately impacted by the virus and the housing crisis.”

Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Executive Director of LCR, said, “Support for low-income patients is now more critical than ever due to COVID-19, and this initiative with MGH creates a local and national model for direct support to help stabilize and ensure the wellbeing of people of color and immigrants. We applaud MGH for their visionary leadership in supporting children, families, and communities."

About Mass General Center for Community Health Improvement
The Massachusetts General Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI) brings together people and resources to address challenging health problems and foster sustainable improvement. Focusing on the social determinants of health, CCHI seeks to eliminate health inequities based on socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, leveraging prevention, early intervention and treatment approaches that are measurable and have proven impact. Facebook Twitter, Instagram, YouTube.

About Lawyers for Civil Rights
Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) fosters equal opportunity and fights discrimination on behalf of people of color and immigrants. We engage in creative and courageous legal action, education, and advocacy in collaboration with law firms and community partners. As discrimination has evolved—from the lunch counter battles of the 1960s to today’s struggles against entrenched racism and inequality—LCR has consistently worked to redefine what it means to live and participate equally in our society regardless of race or zip code. As legal first responders, we provide free legal support to people of color, immigrants, and low-income families.