On March 9, 2021, Fordham Law News published an article spotlighting the role that Fordham Law students have played in spearheading AABANY’s Covid Rent Relief Program. Olympia Moy ‘21 and Meng Zhang ’20 kickstarted AABANY’s volunteer effort last summer, after New York State launched a rent relief program to assist residents who had lost income due to the pandemic. Concerned about low-income Chinatown-area residents, many of whom did not speak English as their first language, Moy and Zhang worked with other AABANY law students and attorneys to hold a one-day rent assistance event. On July 26, the volunteers helped 125 pre-registrants and many walk-ins navigate the challenging application process. When the state’s rent relief program opened its second round of applications in the winter, AABANY volunteers teamed up again to disseminate the program information and invite applicants to contact AABANY’s hotline for assistance. Nicholas Loh ‘22 helped lead this two-week hotline effort, connecting over 85 callers with Chinese-speaking volunteers.
The article celebrated the recognition that these students and AABANY members have received from four New York state senators. At a Lunar New Year virtual celebration in February, Sen. Brian Kavanagh awarded AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee with a certificate of commendation for providing invaluable legal assistance to the AAPI community. Looking into the future, Moy states: “We students are going to continue to try to respond as long as there are further rollouts and extensions.” To learn more about the advocacy efforts of Moy and her fellow AABANY volunteers, click here.
New York State Senators John Liu (11th District, Queens), Andrew Gounardes (22nd District, Brooklyn), Brian Kavanagh (26th District, Manhattan) and Toby Stavisky (16th District, Queens) hosted a Lunar New Year virtual celebration Tuesday evening, February 16, featuring performances from AAPI youth and community honorees. The event was well-attended by city, state and federal elected officials, as well as community leaders and their organizations.
Senator Kavanagh presented May Wong, Esq., and Olympia Moy with a certificate of commendation to recognize the work of AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee in providing invaluable legal assistance to the AAPI community during the pandemic. May Wong and Olympia Moy were proud to accept the certificate on behalf of the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee. In their acceptance speech, they detailed the committee’s success in creating a one-day “in-person” clinic in July 2020 to assist tenants with paper applications for the COVID Rent Relief Program. When the COVID Rent Relief Program was extended to February 2021, law students volunteered again to establish a two-week remote hotline service to assist non-English speaking tenants apply via telephone. They were able to assist callers in Mandarin, Cantonese, and Spanish with the help of the committee’s community partners, Chinatown CLT and GOLES. May Wong and Olympia Moy concluded their speech by expressing gratitude towards the State for its effort in addressing the State’s housing and poverty crisis and strongly encouraged the State to “direct emergency financial relief to tenants and property owners in meaningful programs that can provide permanent rental assistance and increased access to rental subsidies.”
Thank you to all the attorney volunteers and law students who helped AABANY and the community, especially May Wong, William Lee, Karen Lin, Nicholas Loh, Xinyi Shen, and Olympia Moy.
Congratulations to the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee on this well-deserved recognition! To learn more about the Committee and all its wonderful work, go to probono.aabany.org. They are always looking for more volunteers so email them at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.