Published January, 2012
Legal Service Providers for People Living with HIV in New York City, CHLP (updated 2023)
This is a directory of legal service providers for persons living with HIV (PLHIV) in New York City. It includes organizations that provide legal services and advice on matters regarding confidentiality, consumer law, disclosure, domestic violence, family law, housing, immigration, public benefits, wills and estates, and other issues relevant to PLHIV.
Legal Action Center
The Legal Action Center can help HIV-positive New Yorkers address various legal issues, including overcoming barriers created by a criminal record, HIV discrimination, confidentiality & testing, standby guardianships, living wills, and health care proxies. LAC helps people living with HIV or AIDS in New York protect their HIV confidentiality, avoid discrimination, get fair treatment in the workplace, and more. Services include: Discrimination in employment, housing, health care, schools, etc.; HIV/AIDS in the workplace; HIV/AIDS privacy rights; HIV testing without consent; Living wills and health care proxies; Standby guardianships and family support services; Arrest or conviction record issues. If you live in New York State and need help with one of the issues described above, you may contact LAC legal staff by calling (212) 243-1313.
New York Legal Assistance Group
Founded in 1990, NYLAG is a leading civil legal services organization combatting economic, racial, and social injustice by advocating for people experiencing poverty or in crisis. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities—especially communities of color, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, immigrants, and youth—are disproportionately living in poverty and being targeted for violence. Additionally, institutional homophobia and transphobia create barriers to housing, health care, public benefits, employment, and financial stability. Call 212.659.6161, Monday – Friday.
Legal Aid/Legal Services NYC: LGBTQ/HIV Advocacy
Many low-income LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) face special challenges because of discrimination and bias. LSNYC fights landlords who refuse to rent to transgender clients; employers who fire workers because they are gay; service providers who tell same-sex partners they are not welcome; and welfare offices, government officials, courts, and non-profits who discourage LGBTQ+/PLHIV clients from receiving services and treat them as second-class citizens. LSNYC provides representation and advocacy to achieve justice for these individuals and others. Low-income LGBTQ+/PLHIV clients also face the same legal issues as other low-income New Yorkers, and need a safe and respectful place to get help. LSNYC provides zealous advocates who understand the needs of LGBTQ+/PLHIV clients. Our Legal Assistance Hotline is open Monday through Friday from 9:30am to 4pm. Call 917-661-4500 to speak to an intake officer in any language.
HIV Law Project/Housing Works
All clients enrolled in Housing Works Community Healthcare's case management services are eligible for free legal services. Additionally, through the HIV Law Project, Housing Works offers free legal assistance to qualified New York City residents living with HIV in housing, government benefits, and immigration. In October 2013, HIV Law Project merged with Housing Works, whose legal department has taken the lead in fighting for clients wrestling with homelessness and HIV/AIDS, and the rights of transgender clients to receive services, among other areas. Together, HIV Law Project and Housing Works help to secure and maintain affordable housing for clients, ensure basic human rights, and combat discrimination against those living with HIV/AIDS. To qualify for our services, you must (1) live in New York City; (2) live with HIV/AIDS; and (3) be of low income. If you meet all three of these criteria, and you have a legal issue involving public benefits, housing, or immigration, please call (212) 577-3001 and leave a message on the intake line with a brief description of your legal issue.
GMHC has a staff of experienced attorneys, accredited immigration advocates, and volunteers who provide free legal services to GMHC clients living with HIV/AIDS in NYC. The organization assists clients with immigration matters, eviction prevention, employment discrimination, debt collection, bankruptcy, public benefits, wills, living wills, health care proxies, and confidentiality complaints. They provide direct legal advocacy, representation, pro se advice, and appropriate referrals. We do not provide assistance or advice in criminal cases. To access legal services as a client, you must be a registered GMHC client living in New York City. To find out how to become a GMHC client, please call 212-367-1500. For Immigration matters, please call (212) 367-1308. Para asuntos de inmigración (en espanol), llame al (212) 367-1328. For civil legal services, please call 212-367-1144. We assist clients who have been discriminated against in employment or public accommodations. We also assist clients with reasonable accommodations issues. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-367-1144.
The Family Center
For more than 25 years, the Legal Wellness Institute has provided comprehensive legal services for HIV-affected individuals and families living throughout NYC. An integral part of The Family Center’s wraparound approach to supporting HIV+ New Yorkers, their legal services help ensure that clients have stable housing and family relationships, access to income and health care, and a plan for the future. Clients can access individualized advice, advocacy relating to benefits and housing, document preparation, and representation in court proceedings (Housing Court, Family Court, Divorce, etc.) and administrative hearings (SSI/SSDI, Medicaid/HASA/SNAP, NYCHA and more). LWI also provides on-site legal clinics and legal education events on a variety of topics for HIV-related groups, organizations, and providers. To schedule a clinic or presentation, please contact Caroline Bersak. If you are affected by HIV and need legal assistance, please call our Legal Intake line at 718.789.3841 x150. These services are made possible in part by funding from the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Alliance for Positive Change
Alliance helps New Yorkers living with HIV and other chronic health conditions get the medical care, peer support, and housing assistance they need to achieve health, happiness, and stability. Alliance operates services by appointment at community centers: Alliance Midtown Central (64 W 35th Street), CASA Washington Heights (2036 Amsterdam Avenue/ entrance on 161st Street between Amsterdam Avenue & Broadway), Alliance's Keith Haring Harlem Center (315 E 104th Street), LES Harm Reduction Center (35 E Broadway), Luis & Lillian Outreach Center (150 1st Avenue), and Pelham Grand (1870 Pelham Parkway S, Bronx). Alliance also offeres phone counseling and referrals. CAll (855) 427-2692 or (212) 645-0875, x0. Visit alliance.nyc for more information.
AIDS Center for Queens County
Legal representation by ACQC staff attorneys has prevented hundreds of evictions, development of permanency plans for the children of many of our clients, development and execution of advance directives such as wills health care proxies and powers of attorney, development of debtor payment plans, maximizing clients’ entitlements and educating clients on immigration law issues. To schedule an appointment to meet with a staff member from our Legal Services Program, please contact us at (718) 896-2500.
Urban Justice Center
The Urban Justice Center advises, assists, and represents individuals facing an eviction, rent overcharges, or negligent landlords; as well as individuals with questions about or issues with the Human Resource Administration’s (HRA) public benefits programs. All walk-in clinics are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19. If you are a tenant facing eviction or have other problems with your landlord, call 646-923-8359 and leave a message to connect with a housing lawyer. If you need help with food stamps or public assistance, or you are homeless and need support, call 646-923-8358 and leave a message to get help.
Mobilization for Justice
Mobilization for Justice serves low-wage and immigrant workers, and people re-entering the workforce following criminal convictions. Mobilization for Justice provides legal representation to hundreds of low-wage and immigrant workers who would otherwise be unable to access justice. In collaboration with elected officials, workers’ centers and community-based organizations citywide, the Project advocates for workers’ rights, focusing especially on the problems faced by low-wage and immigrant workers and people with criminal records re-entering the labor market. Call our intake line for help: 212-417-3838, Tuesday, 2 – 5 pm.
BronxWorks offers free legal help with preparing and submitting applications for various benefits to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. They can also assist with completing waivers for fees associated with some immigration applications. In addition, they have a housing attorney who can help with eviction cases. The legal services offered are: Immigration Law, Housing Law, Crime Victims Law, Domestic Violence Law. Contact Director of Legal Services Arturo Lopez today to see how we can help: 718.508.3091, email@example.com.
The nation's leading LGBTQ and HIV-positive immigrant rights organization. One of Immigration Equality’s core principles is to ensure that U.S. immigration law does not discriminate or stigmatize people living with HIV. At the same time, they are often successful in securing asylum for people living with HIV who fear persecution on that basis. Anyone thinking about applying for asylum based on HIV status should review our asylum materials carefully and also consult with an experienced immigration attorney. If you’ve looked through the legal resources and still have questions, please reach out. Fill out our confidential form, and our legal team will respond.
Located in the South Bronx, Bronx Defenders assists clients and community members with both legal and non-legal situations. In addition to representing Bronx residents in Criminal, Family, Housing, and Immigration Court, they host events, trainings, and town halls on the important legal issues facing the Bronx community. Their open-door community intake services are available to walk-in clients Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM at the Client Reception space located at 360 East 161st Street. Services include receiving an in-person meeting with a non-attorney advocate, an assessment of your issues and needs, and a meaningful referral for services. To learn more, read our Community Intake Services brochure or call our Community Intake Advocates at 718-838-7878.
Queens Defenders represents people who have been charged with a crime in Queens and cannot afford to hire a lawyer. Queens Defenders lawyers are usually assigned to clients by the court following their arrests. They also provide services to people who visit one of their Outreach Centers. For legal help, call 1-844-QUEENSD (1-844-783-3673)
Make the Road NY
To obtain legal assistance with a legal problem, please visit a neighborhood community centers or call the numbers listed here. We offer the following services: Housing: legal support for tenants to avoid eviction and address overdue maintenance, tenant training on housing rights and landlord interactions. Public Benefits: access to Medicaid, food stamps, health insurance, and more. Employment & Workplace Justice: legal assistance with legal issues such as recovery of unpaid wages, accessing workers compensation benefits, and addressing employment discrimination, among others. Immigration & Action NYC: legal support and representation on immigration matters, including deportation defense, citizenship, DACA consultations, U-Visas. Civil Rights/TGNCIQ Justice: Know Your Rights training for police interactions and bystander training for responding to anti-trans violence (Queens office only). Family Law: legal support for custody/visitation, uncontested divorce, adoption, child/spousal support, temporary/permanent orders of protection.
Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem
NDS clients have an entire team fighting on their behalf, including criminal and civil attorneys, family defense attorneys, advocates, social workers, investigators, paralegals, law school and social work interns, and pro bono attorneys. NDS deploys all of these resources on behalf of their clients, addressing the underlying issues that bring them into contact with the criminal legal system. NDS staff use their engagement with a client as an opportunity to disentangle them from the system completely. Need Legal Assistance? Call 212-876-5500.
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Legal Disclaimer: CHLP makes an effort to ensure legal information is correct and current, but the law is regularly changing, and the accuracy of the information provided cannot be guaranteed. The legal information in a given resource may not be applicable to all situations and is not—and should not be relied upon—as a substitute for legal advice.