Community Reentry Readiness Program Talks Public Benefits

Attorneys Ellen Shachter (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Julie McCormick (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School) presented on public benefits to participants in the Community Reentry Readiness Program.

Attorneys Ellen Shachter (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Julie McCormick (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School) presented on public benefits to participants in the Community Reentry Readiness Program.

Yesterday, BBA volunteers and public benefits experts Ellen Shachter (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Julie McCormick (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School) stopped over at the Moakley courthouse for the first Community Reentry Readiness session of the New Year. As you know, volunteer attorneys are able provide probationers with legal advice to support their reentry process. This session’s topic, public benefits, proved to be a valuable subject matter to the probationers in attendance.

In an intimate roundtable discussion, the volunteers were able to address individual questions and debunk some common myths about public health and housing benefits. Ellen and Julie gave probationers tips on how to manage and negotiate the system to help them receive the max amount of benefits that they are entitled.

Beyond the Billable reached out to Ellen to learn more about the session. Here’s why she thinks this session is particularly relevant to the participants:

“As individuals transition from incarceration into the community it is critical that they are provided with the skills and information necessary to successfully obtain critical benefits such as health insurance coverage and food stamps.  The BBA’s benefits workshop provided just such information to those reentering the community both through direct oral presentation and in written materials.  The benefits workshop also provided a safe forum for participants to ask questions and raise concerns about their own experiences in attempting to navigate complicated benefit program requirements.”

Stay tuned for next month’s session on housing.

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