South Coastal Counties Legal Services’ skilled advocacy team provides free legal services to low-income and older residents of Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod & Islands. If you are seeking help in one of the areas listed below, please contact us to determine if you are eligible. If we are unable to provide you with legal representation, we will do our best to provide you with helpful legal information. You may also visit our self-help page.
We help tenants facing eviction, termination of a rent subsidy, or bad housing conditions, people experiencing denials of admission to public or subsidized housing, homeowners threatened with foreclosure, and others seeking help to overcome barriers to safe, affordable housing.
Each year South Coastal Counties Legal Services represents hundreds of clients desperate for financial help because they have lost a job or are no longer able to work due to injury or disease. Advocates at SCCLS can help with Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability (SSDI), unemployment, emergency or transitional assistance, MassHealth and SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits.
We believe low-income families are entitled to live in a safe environment, free of violence and the destabilizing effects of violence on their families. SCCLS helps low-income families achieve family and economic stability by offering legal advice and/or representation in divorce, child custody and support, and abuse prevention cases, primarily to those experiencing domestic or sexual violence.
Our subsidiary, Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts, offers legal representation to individuals in need of immigration assistance on a wide range of cases throughout our service area. The immigration team helps survivors of domestic or sexual violence, victims of crime and human trafficking, and those eligible for asylum, temporary protected status, or special immigrant juvenile status achieve the humanitarian-based relief to which they are entitled. We also represent individuals in family-based immigration cases, removal proceedings, and other types of immigration petitions. The immigration team regularly provides trainings, community outreach and education, and community clinics, and engages in systemic advocacy on behalf of our client communities.
We work to ensure that low-income students are afforded the quality education to which they are entitled. This can mean advocating for entitlements to special education services and supports, representing students who are facing exclusion from their education, and addressing the underlying policies and practices that interfere with students remaining in school and having the opportunity to learn.
Senior Law Project
Our Senior and Elder Law Projects provide legal assistance to individuals age 60 and older who are economically or socially disadvantaged. Priority is given to income maintenance issues, health care, long-term care, nutrition, housing, utilities, protective services, defense of guardianship, abuse, neglect, and age discrimination.
SCCLS hosts educational clinics at which clients struggling with consumer debt can obtain the information and advice they need to avoid harassment from creditors, understand protections afforded by bankruptcy and present defenses in debt collection cases. In limited situations, SCCLS also can help eligible clients discharge debt through bankruptcy proceedings.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc with the ability of many residents to work, and to access unemployment benefits when needed most. Since the onset of the pandemic, SCCLS has helped hundreds of residents get the unemployment assistance they needed to survive. SCCLS advocates also can help recover wages wrongfully withheld by an employer in violation of federal or state labor laws. When this occurs, it is known as “wage theft.”
Civil Legal Aid for Victims of Crime
SCCLS has special funding from the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) to help victims of crime with civil matters relating to the crime. Victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and other crimes are often left with significant civil legal needs beyond those addressed by the criminal justice system. If you are a victim of crime which is connected, directly or indirectly, to the civil legal matter for which you are seeking assistance, we may be able to help.