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2004 January - February

Restoring Drivers' Licenses Removes a Common Legal Barrier to Employment

By Barbara Corkrey

Loss or suspension of drivers' licenses, or the inability to obtain a license, can be a major barrier to employment. In recent years states have deprived people of drivers' licenses for largely economic reasons rather than for public safety. Legal aid programs around the country have helped low-income clients obtain or regain drivers' licenses, thereby making the clients more able to benefit from job training programs and more employable.

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Legal Aid Tests New Style of Advocacy in Harlem

By Tom Perrotta

The Legal Aid Society of New York's Greater Harlem office last fall began using an "integrated services" model in representing clients. Approaching clients with attorneys representing various areas of practice, including both civil and criminal, is one step toward implementing a vision of a "full-service" law firm for the poor.

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Preserving Elders' Housing Rights

By Michael Allen & Susan Ann Silverstein

Housing discrimination against the elderly is often based on actual or perceived disability of the older person. The Fair Housing Act protects the elderly against overt discrimination, such as a landlord's independent-living requirement. The Act also requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations for senior citizens with disabilities so that they may use and enjoy the premises.

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The McKinney-Vento Act

Stable Schooling Despite Unstable Housing

By Patricia F. Julianelle

The reauthorized McKinney-Vento Act guarantees meaningful opportunities for academic success to children and youth in unstable housing. The Act requires schools to eliminate the practical barriers that prevent a student's access to school, gives students the right to remain in one school despite their residential mobility, and guarantees access to all appropriate educational opportunities and services. Using outreach and education, contact with state and school district officials, administrative forums, and, if need be, litigation, advocates can achieve systemic reform and compliance for individual clients.

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Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention

By Greg Spiegel

Proper safety education can prevent childhood lead poisoning—most commonly caused by lead-based paint in the home and leading to possibly serious health consequences. The lead industry is regulated by laws and regulatory agencies at the federal, state, and local level. Advocates must understand the common sources of lead poisoning, its health risks, and the applicable laws, including Title X or the federal Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992.

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