Legal Services of Eastern Missouri | St. Louis Public Radio

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri

Nat Thomas | St. Louis Public Radio

In March, Hannah Priest filed for unemployment for the first time in her life. The St. Louis restaurant where she worked as a server, Union Loafers, closed dine-in service because of the pandemic.

A simple mistake on her application set her back weeks. She quickly realized the error, but day after day couldn’t cut through the busy phone lines of the Missouri Department of Labor. Meanwhile, she watched the balance in her bank account dwindle.

Priest is one of the hundreds of thousands in Missouri who made unemployment insurance claims as the coronavirus outbreak drove employers to furlough and lay off workers. She’s also among many who say they’ve been frustrated navigating an overwhelmed state unemployment system.

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri will provide pro bono legal support to residents and neighborhood associations in Hyde Park, the West End, Old North St. Louis and Academy. The grant money will prevent residents and land owners from displacement.
File Photo | Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

In 2018, Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office found that of the 129,000 properties in the city of St. Louis, about 25,000 were vacant and abandoned.

Beginning this month, residents and community organizations in four high-vacancy neighborhoods will have extra support in reducing that number. 

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM) received a two-year grant from Legal Services Corporation to expand its efforts with its Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative (NVI).

Regina Hartfield speaks with her daughters Khia, 14, and Destinee, 12 , as they eat dinner. Hartfield's children were dropped from Missouri's Medicaid program.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Aug. 9, Holly Uchtman and her 7-year-old son Zyler headed to their weekly appointment at Mercy Hospital in Springfield. Zyler has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare, terminal disease that causes muscles to weaken and eventually stop working. For two years, Zyler had been receiving eteplirsen, gene therapy that helped his muscles keep their shape.

But that day, there was a surprise on the other side of their journey. The state had removed Zyler from Medicaid, which pays for his nearly $40,000-a-week treatment. They were turned away, and he missed his appointment.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 20, 2009 - Law school, as it’s often said inside the ivy-covered walls, prepares students to think like lawyers. But it can’t teach them how to tell a client who’s desperate for a favorable legal decision that the facts just aren’t on his side.

Ben Fletcher, 34, learned how to handle that situation through his work as a pro bono lawyer. He’s one of roughly 1,400 volunteer attorneys who help low-income St. Louis residents with their legal problems through a program run by Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.

File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

The city of St. Louis has more than 25,000 vacant and abandoned properties, attracting crime and arson, lowering property values and reducing tax revenue for the city.

On Tuesday a coalition of neighborhood, city, and non-profit agencies announced the “Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative" at a press conference at Saint Louis University's School of Law.

Holly Yoakam and Laura Halfmann discussed the issue of stalking on "St. Louis on the Air."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Stalker. The word itself evokes an image of someone hiding in the bushes and peering into your life unbeknownst to you. In reality, that’s far from the most common forms of stalking experienced by over 7.5 million Americans today.

In many cases, people are very aware of a stalker’s behaviors but they may feel they have little recourse.

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri attorney Lauren Hamvas, left, chats with project director Amanda Schneider at Family Care Health Centers in the Carondelet neighborhood of St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Your doctor can refer you to a specialist … but what if she could refer you to free legal help, too?

In St. Louis, attorneys for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri are making the rounds at community health clinics to help patients whose health issues may need a legal remedy.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 11, 2012 - When Victor Washington was growing up in a hardscrabble neighborhood near Union and St. Louis Avenue, he never dreamed of owning a landscaping business, let alone getting free legal help from Lewis, Rice & Fingersh, a prominent law firm downtown. Connections count, even in the world of very small businesses. The lawyer and the landscaper were brought together as a result of an economic development program started by Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 15, 2009 - Many of the people who will show up for Pat Martin's memorial service on Saturday probably had never heard of progressive tax reform before they met her. Then, they heard a lot about it.

Mrs. Martin, founder of Missourians for Tax Justice, made educating people about fair and equitable taxation her life's work. For Pat Martin, "tax" was not a dirty word, but merely a system for community care.

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Beacon archives | Link does not work

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 22, 2008 - When all else fails and foreclosure looms, bankruptcy attorneys say give them a chance

Which is worse: Foreclosure or bankruptcy?