A Message from PLS Executive Director Jim Barrett
Dear Friends, Clients and Partners,
As we are all aware, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) is impacting lives around the world and here in Western North Carolina. As the situation continues to evolve, we are taking important steps to serve our clients and ensure the health and safety of our staff, clients, volunteers and the entire community.
Staying Open, Working Remotely, and How to Reach Us
Pisgah Legal Services continues to serve clients. In this time of uncertainty, many more people will have legal needs related to shelter, health, safety from abuse and economic security. We are committed to meeting those needs.
At the same time, we are taking steps to limit community spread and ensure the health and safety of our staff and visitors.
We worked quickly to put technology and training in place that allows Pisgah Legal staff to provide services while working remotely. For the safety of all, we are now communicating with clients by phone and email. Staff, including myself, may be reached by calling 828-253-0406, 800-489-6144 or by email.
If you or someone you know needs legal aid, call these numbers to apply, or apply online here: www.pisgahlegal.org/free-legal-assistance.
If you have questions about our business operations during this time, please contact Chief Operations Officer Jaclyn Kiger at 210-3415 or [email protected].
Other Safety Measures We’ve Taken
Pisgah Legal has postponed our annual Jazz for Justice celebration as well as other community events. We have suspended in-office work with volunteers. Volunteer attorneys are being contacted to determine their availability to work remotely with clients during this time.
Ongoing Updates and Resources
Last week, Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court Cherie Beasley directed that local courts postpone most cases in district and superior court for at least 30 days. We have been notified that all eviction hearings and foreclosure hearings must be continued for 30 days effective March 16, 2020. Emergency hearings for domestic violence proceeding are still occurring. As we receive updates from the NC Judicial Branch, we will share that news with you.
We have also launched a Resources page on our website to share updates that include information and resources for folks here in our mountains who are being impacted the most, including those in need of food, mental health counseling, etc. If you are a Community Partner and would like to contribute to this list, please email Jodi Ford at [email protected].
In addition to regularly updating the website, we are sharing updates and new information via e-news and social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). You can connect to these channels at the links below to stay in touch with us.
Working Together to Help Those Who Need Us Most
Our strength lies in what we do together, for the safety and well-being of our community – – from staying at home to help stop the spread of this terrible virus to sharing resources to help our fellow neighbors.
Without a doubt, the current and long-term implications for Pisgah Legal clients are staggering. You can join our efforts to provide local people with shelter, health care, safety from abuse and economic security. Please consider making a gift online at pisgahlegal.org/give, or contact Ally Wilson at 210-3444 or [email protected] for other ways to provide financial support.
Together we will continue to stand for justice and dignity for our neighbors here in Western North Carolina.
As always, we thank you for your steadfast support and for partnering with us to serve those who need help most.
Stay safe. Be well. We will persevere and overcome these trials, together.
Jim Barrett, Executive Director
Pisgah Legal Services