Shayla developed worker-owned businesses that can help individuals with low to moderate-income, people of color, and returning citizens in Southeast Michigan achieve economic self-sufficiency.
The majority of people C2BE serves are people of color, people with incomes within 200% of the poverty line, and those citizens returning to the community from incarceration. Worker cooperatives or businesses that are owned and controlled by workers themselves allow the members to overcome reliance on both public benefits and private employment and the barriers to employment faced by ex-offenders and employer discrimination. This project provided community education, transactional lawyering, and business support which helped citizens in Detroit achieve economic self-sufficiency by establishing worker cooperatives.
During the Fellowship period, Shayla:
- Conducted outreach with community organizations, businesses, and economic development partners
- Conducted community education sessions on various forms of worker ownership, the benefits of worker ownership, and the cooperative culture
- Provided technical assistance services such as feasibility studies, business plans, legal advice and drafting on the choice of entity, contracts, business conversion counseling, sources of capital for project partners and making mutual referrals with these partners
Shayla Fletcher will continue working with C2BE to provide business technical assistance to start-up businesses in Detroit. She also plans to continue providing technical assistance such as business planning (with an emphasis on planning for financial stability and growth) for potential worker-owned business conversions.
Low-income Americans – including black and Hispanic Americans – are at the highest risk of facing predatory lending practices and foreclosure. To address these issues and reach those at risk in Detroit, the project will utilize a 5-part plan: Education/outreach/advocacy; negotiation/counseling; direct representation; networking/resource-building; and long-term monitoring. The goal is prevention, but we will also provide long-term, comprehensive assistance to those already entangled in predatory lending and foreclosure proceedings.
Andrew focused on the areas of foreclosures and predatory mortgage lending. Andrew defended low-income homeowners from foreclosure and bring affirmative cases based on illegal lending practices. Additionally, Andrew helped educate homeowners to help them avoid foreclosure or, if they are already in foreclosure, find the assistance that they need.
I work in the area of foreclosures and predatory mortgage lending. I defend low-income homeowners from foreclosure and bring affirmative cases based on illegal lending practices.
George aimed to solve problems associated with poverty and a lack of economic opportunities in an impoverished post-industrial neighborhoods in the Midwest. George targeted problems prevalent in Toledo, Ohio’s Old South End. The Old South End suffers from declining housing stock, increased crime and other problems associated with escalating poverty. George gave a plan for long-term solutions and hopes to pass on the lessons learned to other neighborhoods like it.
As an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow specializing in foreclosure, Katherine represented people who are in danger of losing their homes. Additionally, Katherine tracked developments in foreclosure law and applied them to individual and systemic cases. Finally, Katherine conducted outreach to better educate the community about how to understand and deal with foreclosure.
The project is designed to support community development and preserve people’s access to safe, affordable, and healthy housing by engaging in foreclosure prevention litigation and community outreach.
Holly worked to improve health outcomes for low-income and minority communities in Northwest Ohio by increasing access to health care and addressing the underlying social determinants of health.
Need Addressed By Project
Vast disparities exist in the quality of health care and health outcomes between the rich and poor and for certain minority groups in our society. These disparities are evident throughout Northwest Ohio. African-Americans report having unmet medical needs at significantly higher rates than whites. Rural residents are much less likely to have health insurance than their urban counterparts. And low-income children suffer from asthma at considerably higher rates than children of high income families. Recent changes to our health care laws such as the Affordable Care Act and Ohio’s Medicaid expansion offer a unique opportunity to remedy these health disparities.
In the past two years, Holly has:
• Provided advice and brief service on issues including family law, immigration, housing, and public benefits cases to over 65 clients
• Submitted civil rights complaints to increase language access services for public transit users, language access services for developmental disabilities services, and public transit in isolated parts of Lucas County
• Drafted a policy brief and sign-on letter educating legislators about preserving Medicaid for pregnant women up to 200% FPL in Ohio’s 2016-2017 budget
Where are they now?
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Holly will:
• Join for Advocates for Basic Legal Equality as a staff attorney in their Medical Legal Partnership for Children (MLPC)
• Continue my work on improving health outcomes in northwest Ohio, now with a primary focus on children and youth