Tag Archive for: Greater Boston Legal Services

Receptionist – Cambridge and Sommerville Legal Services

Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Accessible Employer and strives to ensure that our staff members reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.

GBLS seeks a qualified candidate to fill the new position of Receptionist at the Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services (CASLS) office. CASLS is a small supportive neighborhood office with a strong track record of success in providing legal assistance to low income, elderly, and immigrant communities it serves in Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, Belmont, Woburn, and Winchester.

Location: This position is based at 60 Gore Street, Second Floor, East Cambridge, MA 02141. It is “in person” five days a week.

Hours: This position is for 35 hours a week. The daily schedule will be based on coverage needs and may change over time but will be regular. Normal office operations time is Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Duties

  • Answer the phone and apply unit protocols to screen and direct callers as appropriate.
  • Answer the door and determine the nature of the visitor’s business (including greeting clients, directing potential clients as appropriate, and providing building access to postal and other delivery persons).
  • Determine initial legal problem and/or geographic and/or financial eligibility for prospective clients who contact CASLS by phone or in person.
  • Upon request, schedule interpreter and other appointments for CASLS staff.
  • Sort, date-stamp and distribute incoming mail and stamp and post outgoing mail.
  • Be available between calls to assist with office administrative tasks such as updating office forms, scanning, copying, and library filing.
  • Maintaining updated brochures and flyers in CASLS reception area.
  • Occasionally assist clients by making certain referrals.
  • Some data entry.
  • On occasion, as time permits, assist with on the job training for new staff.

Qualifications

  • Excellent oral skills and good judgment.
  • Ability to maintain professionalism and patience when dealing with clients and potential clients who may be distressed.
  • Ability to use computer database to enter information and search for information.
  • Ability to use basic functions of Microsoft Word and Excel.
  • Willingness and ability to learn where to refer callers.
  • Ability to maintain strict confidentiality.
  • Fluency in English (Fluency in one or more languages spoken by CASLS clients, such as Spanish, Portuguese, or Haitian Creole, is helpful but not required).

Salary is based on a union scale, with a starting annual salary of $44,500 for a receptionist with five years of experience (and annual increases every July 1). There is an additional payment of $950 annually for a second language ability if applicable. GBLS offers a generous benefits package, retirement contribution, and paid time off.

Candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to the Human Resources Department, via e-mail at jobs@gbls.org. Please refer to Job Code: CASLS-RECEPTIONIST when applying for this position. Deadline for applications is January 17, 2024 or until the position is filled.

GBLS encourages applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

Managing Attorney, Housing Unit – GBLS

Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity / Accessible Employer and strives to ensure that our staff members reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.

Greater Boston Legal Services seeks a Managing Attorney to oversee the work of the Housing Unit. The goal of the Housing Unit is to preserve tenancies and to increase affordable housing for low-income people. The Unit represents individuals who face involuntary displacement from their homes and those who seek access to affordable housing and shelter. The unit prioritizes working with community groups that promote the expansion of resources for affordable housing and to try to minimize the loss of units.

The Manager will be responsible for coordinating and supervising staff; have the capacity to lead a team effort to address housing challenges and conflicts with litigation, negotiation and political action, as well as the ability to build consensus and recognize areas of mutual benefit to landlords, owners, real estate developers and residents. The Shelter system run by the State is in dire need of reform, and the Housing unit needs to respond with creative casework, litigation and policy work in order to address the needs of our homeless clients. The Manager must also provide and encourage leadership in the substantive legal work, legislative and administrative advocacy, and community education activities; and participate in the GBLS leadership team and the management group on program wide policy issues.

Qualifications should include: over 10 years of legal services or similar advocacy experience; strong and demonstrated commitment to poverty issues, community lawyering, capacity building of diverse client groups, experience in systemic cases or projects including legislative or administrative projects; the ability to mentor, supervise and co-counsel effectively and in a collaborative manner that provides opportunities for growth and professional development. Prior management or administrative experience is required.

Interested candidates should submit a resume with a cover letter describing your qualifications for the job including legal work and/or experience working on housing issues to the Human Resources Department via email at jobs@gbls.org. Please refer to Job Code: HU-MANAGER when applying for this position. Deadline for application is January 15, 2024 or until position is filled.

GBLS values diversity and encourages applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

Staff Attorney, Asian Outreach Center – GBLS

Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity / Accessible Employer and strives to ensure that our staff members reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.

Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) seeks an attorney with 0 to 5 years of experience to join the Asian Outreach Center and support advocacy on behalf of the low-income Asian immigrant community.

Using a community lawyering model, AOC provides bilingual and bicultural legal services and support for movement building in the immigrant Asian American community. AOC works in conjunction with community organizers to dismantle racially unjust systems, recognizing that the community and our clients are their own fiercest advocates. Our model enables us to respond to the day-to-day needs of community and inspires our broader work against systemic inequality and oppression. Our major projects include stopping deportations in the Southeast Asian community, fighting against gentrification and displacement in low-income immigrant neighborhoods, educating nail salon workers about their rights, protecting the voting rights of limited English proficient speakers, supporting undocumented Asian immigrants, and advocating for language access.

This is a generalist attorney position, with a focus on the legal needs of Asian immigrants impacted by the immigration system. Cases and advocacy may include identifying and representing clients on immigration relief options, advising and defending individual immigrant rights, and ensuring access to critical benefit programs and services for undocumented immigrants and immigrants with prior criminal convictions. The goal of this advocacy is to advance equity and increase access to rights on behalf of low-income households regardless of their immigration status.

In close collaboration with our regional and national community partners, the attorney will engage in direct legal representation, policy work, administrative advocacy, and intersectional coalition building to respond to the legal needs of low-income Asian immigrants. The attorney will also support the team in a range of legal areas based on ongoing community need as our team seeks to develop deeper relationships with community partners and vulnerable populations in the Greater Boston area. The attorney will also organize legal clinics, engage in outreach and education, and foster new relationships with impacted individuals and community groups to monitor legal needs and trends.

Qualifications: Candidates should have 0-5 years of legal experience, and admission to the Massachusetts Bar or comity is required. Prior experience in immigration and/or administrative advocacy is preferred. The ideal candidate for the position should also have experience with outreach and community lawyering principles or be willing to learn to engage with community groups. The candidate should possess a strong familiarity or foundation in the history of greater Boston’s Asian American community, or be willing to learn. Flexibility to work some weekends or evenings as needed to accommodate client community and participate in community outreach. Proficiency in Cantonese, Mandarin or Vietnamese is a plus but not required.

The Attorney will receive an annual salary based on GBLS’s union scale, which is $72,000 for an attorney with less than 1 year of experience and $78,000 for an attorney with 5 years of experience. GBLS offers a generous benefits package, retirement contribution, a student loan repayment assistance plan for eligible attorneys, and generous Paid Time Off leave. The attorney will work in the GBLS Boston office with a hybrid remote work schedule.

Candidates should submit a letter of interest, resume and brief writing sample to the Human Resources Department via email at jobs@gbls.org. Please refer to Job Code: AOC-ATT when applying for this position. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled but applicants are encouraged to submit applications by January 17, 2024.

GBLS encourages applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences

Paralegal, Elder, Health & Disability Unit (Temporary Position) – GBLS

Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Accessible Employer and strives to ensure that our staff members reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.

GBLS seeks a full-time paralegal to join the Elder Health and Disability Unit’s (EHDU) Elder Project within our Elder Health and Disability Unit for a one (1) year position. This paralegal will support the Elder Project team with the following: aid elder tenants in staying housed, aiding Elders with basic MassHealth and other benefit matters, and social security issues for Elders. This position is a hybrid position, and the paralegal is expected to be in the office a minimum of 2 days per week.

PRINCIPAL RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Organizing the active case list of elder cases (including new referrals/intakes)
  • Explain intake and related procedures to potential and current clients and ensure compliance with standard procedures.
  • Completing the grant reports (with supervision)
  • Brief advice and counsel to clients with supervision
  • Completing Answer & Discovery requests for housing clients
  • Enter all relevant information into the agency client database.
  • Provide relevant phone translation services for clients directly or via use of a language line.
  • Translate, or arrange for translations of, letters, documents, etc. as needed.
  • Attend and participate in project team meetings.
  • Work collaboratively with others on the project team to promote effective communication, coordination and teamwork.
  • Perform other duties as needed consistent with the provision of quality client services.
  • Possibility of appealing denials of benefits
  • Generally interviewing clients to advise attorneys regarding representation

BACKGROUND AND QUALIFICATIONS

  • Good communication skills, writing, organizational, and oral presentation skills;
  • Ability to read, analyze, and synthesize documents
  • Ability to conduct intakes and provide referrals/advice over the phone.
  • Capacity to identify and analyze legal and other problems.
  • Ability to do word processing and to track information using spreadsheets and our online client data base.
  • Demonstrated concern for and commitment to the goals of legal services and to working for low-income people.
  • Experience working with interpreters, or fluency in language(s) in addition to English strongly preferred.

SALARY AND BENEFITS

  • The salary for this position is based on a union scale. The salary range for an applicant with 4 -6 years of experience is $48,500 to $50,500. Starting salary determined by work experience and related education. There is an additional payment of $950 annually for a second language ability if applicable. GBLS offers a generous benefits package including low cost health insurance, retirement contribution, paid time off, and ongoing professional development opportunities.

HOW TO APPLY

  • Candidates should submit a letter of interest and resume including a description of any prior public interest legal work or other advocacy on behalf of low-income communities and individuals.
  • Applications should be submitted to the Personnel Team via email at jobs@gbls.org. Please refer to Job Code: EHDU-PARA-LTT when applying for this position. Deadline for application is January 7, 2024 or until this position is filled, with applications to be reviewed on a rolling basis.

GBLS values diversity and encourages applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

Attorney, Housing Unit (3 Job Openings) – GBLS

Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Accessible Employer and strives to ensure that our staff members reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.

Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) seeks an attorney with 0-5 years of experience preferred. The attorney will work in the Housing Unit in litigation, and eviction defense representing tenants who are facing eviction. This position will work closely with the Mayor’s Office of Housing for the City of Boston, specifically with the Office of Housing Stability, in representing Boston residents.

The position may also include some of the full range of activities of the Housing Unit, including support for tenants who live in public and subsidized housing, helping tenant organizations preserve affordable housing, shelter advocacy, and any other work of the Housing Unit. In addition to a substantial trial caseload (including jury trials), the work may include participation in legislative and administrative advocacy projects and impact litigation. Some evening meetings are required.

Qualifications: Admission to or comity with the Massachusetts Bar is required and admission to the bar (or pending admission from passing the 2023 bar exam) is a requirement of the job. Prior housing law and/or trial experience is preferred. Attorneys with lived experience of displacement or gentrification are encouraged to apply. This position is for an attorney with 0-5 years of experience preferred. Fluency in one or more of the languages in addition to English spoken by GBLS clients, such as Spanish or Haitian Creole, among others, is helpful. Should funding for this position change, the attorney may be required to assume work in a different area of law within GBLS.

Salary is based on a union scale with a starting salary of $72,000 for an attorney with no experience to approximately $78,000 for an attorney with 5 years of experience. GBLS offers a generous benefits package, retirement contribution, a student loan repayment assistance plan for eligible attorneys, and generous PTO leave.

Candidates should submit a cover letter, resume and a brief writing sample to the Human Resources Department via e-mail at jobs@gbls.org. Please refer to Job Code: HU-ATT when applying for this position. Deadline for application is January 1, 2024, or until the position is filled. GBLS encourages applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences to apply.

GBLS values diversity and encourages applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

Paralegal, Elder, Health & Disability Unit and CASLS – GBLS

GBLS is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity / Accessible Employer and strives to ensure that our staff members reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.

Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) seeks a full time paralegal to work primarily in the Elder, Health and Disability Unit (EHDU) providing client representation in Social Security matters. A small part of the work is providing client representation in housing administrative hearings for the clients of the Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services (CASLS) neighborhood office. The paralegal will be sited at GBLS’s Boston office. A hybrid work schedule is possible.

EHDU represents elders, people with disabilities and families to ensure that they have income, health care and services needed to live independently in the community. The unit’s work includes access to SSI income for children and adults, access to affordable health care for all, and representation of elders in benefits and housing matters. It serves the cities and towns of the Greater Boston area.

CASLS is a small neighborhood office of GBLS located in East Cambridge. It serves low-income residents of Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge, Somerville, Winchester, and Woburn primarily on housing, public benefits, and mental health issues and elderly residents of Cambridge and Somerville.

The candidate will primarily work on SSI and SSDI terminations and denials (for children, adults, and elders) for both the EHDU and CASLS service area, under the supervision of an EHDU attorney or paralegal. This involves interviewing clients, investigating facts, gathering and assessing medical records, assessing the merits of a case, researching and analysis of the law, drafting of written and oral legal arguments, and preparing for and handling of Social Security administrative hearings, including making oral arguments and examination of witnesses (including medical experts). The position may also involve assisting in litigation, legislative and policy advocacy, supervising student and volunteer interns, community legal education, and other work of the EHDU. The position also involves attendance at statewide meetings and trainings.

Around 30% of the candidate’s time will be spent on representing clients on administrative housing cases for the CASLS service area, under the supervision of a CASLS attorney. This involves interviewing clients and witnesses, conducting file reviews and other fact gathering, assessing the merits of a case, researching and analyzing the law, drafting of testimony and oral legal arguments, and preparing for and handling of housing agency administrative hearings including but not limited to the denial of public housing and Section 8 vouchers, eviction grievance hearings, and Section 8 termination hearings. It may also involve housing policy advocacy.

Qualifications: Candidates should have good communication, organizational, and written and oral presentation skills; ability to read, analyze and synthesize large volumes of medical and other records; and strong demonstrated commitment to anti-poverty and civil rights work. Experience advocating for low-income people and working with immigrants, persons with disabilities, and/or persons of color preferred. In addition to fluency in English, fluency in one or more of the languages spoken by GBLS clients, such as Spanish or Haitian Creole, among others, is preferred.

The salary for this position is based on a union scale. The salary range for an applicant with 4 -6 years of experience is $48,500 to $50,500 with an additional $950 annual payment for second language ability. Starting salary determined by work experience and related education. GBLS offers a generous benefits package including low cost health insurance, retirement contribution, paid time off, and ongoing professional development opportunities.

Candidates should submit cover letter, resume and a brief writing sample to the GBLS Human Resources Team by email to jobs@gbls.org. Please refer to Job Code: EHD/CASLS-PARA, when applying for this position. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled but applicants are encouraged to submit applications by January 6, 2023.

GBLS values diversity and encourages applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

Managing Attorney, Welfare Law Unit – GBLS

Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Accessible Employer and strives to ensure that our staff members reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.

Job Description
Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) seeks a Managing Attorney to lead the work of the Welfare Law Unit (WLU).

The WLU prioritizes representing clients living in deep poverty and advocating for the critical role of consistent cash income and childcare in preventing or ending the devastating and discriminatory injustice impact of deep poverty. The WLU works primarily in the contexts of the state welfare and childcare agencies and the Mass. Legislature, and also works with other state and local government agencies and programs. The WLU does substantial direct client representation and initiates, leads, and collaborates on statewide systemic advocacy through litigation, access to top agency officials for administrative legal and policy advocacy, sophisticated legislative advocacy (drafting, lobbying, work with and within coalitions), and work with allies and other stakeholders. The WLU is the sole provider of systemic legal advocacy on childcare issues in all these forms in Massachusetts. In addition, the WLU undertook innovative work on behalf of clients effectively excluded from the federal tax system and thereby not receiving the federal COVID tax benefits (stimulus payments and radically expanded Child Tax Credit) during 2020 and 2021. Under a Congressionally Directed Spending grant received in 2022 and at least until client case work is completed, the WLU’s Tax Benefits Project continues to surface such clients and undertake whatever representation is needed to secure these and other available federal and state tax benefits for these clients. Flowing out of this work, the WLU has engaged since early 2021 in national systemic advocacy with a large coalition, playing a key role in initiating and participating in work on IRS access issues.

The WLU sees its work as part of the larger effort to combat income and wealth inequality for the people of color and those marginalized by deep poverty and the systems that relegated them to harsh lives in our wealthy nation.

The WLU Managing Attorney must have demonstrated leadership skills and ability to effectively lead, oversee, and support a dynamic and innovative unit with extremely experienced advocates, and to ensure training, mentoring, and professional development for new team advocates.

The Managing Attorney also will be responsible for oversight of the day-to-day operation of the unit, implementation of GBLS administrative procedures, and staff supervision and evaluation; handling personnel issues; developing, managing, and reporting on grants; collaborating with other units and practice groups; fostering cross-unit work program-wide; and contributing, directly and through recruitment within the unit, to work to improve and support GBLS overall.

Qualifications

  • Admission to or comity with the Massachusetts bar.
  • Minimum of 7 years of experience in a legal aid organization or other advocacy organization.
  • Demonstrated commitment to poverty law and to providing culturally sensitive and accessible services to diverse client groups.
  • A minimum of 3 to 5 years of prior supervisory or administrative experience and familiarity with a unionized workforce is strongly preferred.
  • Ability to mentor, supervise and co-counsel effectively and in a collaborative manner that provides opportunities for growth and professional development.
  • Expertise in welfare law and practice, administrative law under the state Administrative Procedures Act and related case law; access to courts law; and statutory construction law.
  • Substantial experience developing and implementing systemic advocacy.
  • Experience working effectively with administrative agencies, including top agency officials.
  • Experience relevant to working and collaborating with community-based organizations outside GBLS to reach clients, engage in joint advocacy, and otherwise serve the Unit’s direct client representation and systemic advocacy.

Salary is based on years of legal experience, with a starting annual salary from $97,000. GBLS offers a generous benefits package and student loan repayment assistance plan for eligible attorneys.

Application Instructions
Interested candidates should submit a resume with a cover letter describing their interest in and qualifications for the job to the Human Resources Team via email at jobs@gbls.org. Please refer to Job Code: WLU-MANAGER when applying for this position. Deadline for application is January 15, 2024, or until the position is filled.

GBLS values diversity and encourages applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

Housing Paralegal – GBLS

GBLS is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Accessible Employer and strives to ensure that our staff members reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.

Greater Boston Legal Services seeks an individual for a Paralegal position in the Housing Unit.

The position involves advising and representing individuals and families referred by the City of Boston and works closely with Office of Housing Stability (OHS) of the Mayor’s Office of Housing. The position will also involve going to Court and assisting with Attorney for the Day in Housing Court as well as participating in housing clinics with OHS. The paralegal hired for this position must maintain a good working relationship with the Office of Housing Stability and the social service agencies that are vendors with OHS. The job will involve grant reporting, entering non-confidential information into Salesforce with the City of Boston, and maintaining daily contact with OHS staff and elected officials. The position will also involve extensive use of GBLS’s client database, Legal Server. This position will work closely with the Managing Attorney of the Housing Unit as well as all the attorneys and paralegals on the Eviction Defense Team and Redevelopment Team within the Housing Unit. The position may require doing any of the Housing Unit duties (including eviction defense, shelter, redevelopment or movement lawyering).

Qualified candidates should be able to work quickly given that requests for assistance are received on an on-going emergency basis and may require swift turn-around. Candidate must be able to work cooperatively on a team and have good attention to detail. Applicants must be able to support families in crisis. Additionally, applicants should possess strong advocacy skills that include the ability to communicate effectively and persuasively both orally and in writing. Candidate must be able to engage with attorneys and state agencies to represent families in administrative hearings and informal negotiations.

Salary is based on a union scale. The salary range starts at $47,500 with additional compensation for increased years of experience. There is an additional $950 annually for second language ability if applicable. GBLS offers a generous benefits package, retirement contribution, and generous PTO (paid
time off) leave.

Candidates should submit a cover letter, resume and brief writing sample to GBLS Human Resources Department via e-mail at jobs@gbls.org. Please refer to the Job Code: HU-PARA when applying for this position. Deadline is December 22, 2023, or until position is filled.

GBLS encourages applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

Receptionist – GBLS

Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Accessible Employer and strives to ensure that our staff members reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.

Greater Boston Legal Services is a social and economic justice-driven organization dedicated to ensuring that all residents of the Greater Boston area are able to meet their basic needs for safety, shelter, and stability. GBLS uses the law to positively change the lives of thousands of low-income clients and their families annually, and to achieve groundbreaking outcomes that challenge the systems that keep people in poverty.

Position: GBLS seeks a full-time bilingual Receptionist to join our team. This position serves as the first point of contact for potential and current clients and helps direct them to appropriate resources.

Location: This position is based in our Boston office – 197 Friend Street, Boston, MA 02114 -and it is in person five days a week.

Hours: This position is for 35 hours a week. The daily schedule will be based on coverage needs and may change over time but will be regular. Normal office operations time is Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Duties:

  • Answer phone and apply protocols to screen callers and understand their needs.
  • Using online communications system to connect callers to requested extensions or refer appropriately.
  • Keep client information confidential and use discretion.
  • Look up client information in online client database and relay information to client and add notes in database.
  • Be available between calls to assist with office administrative tasks such as mailing letters, scanning and making labels.
  • Provide some interpretation and translation for staff and clients in case of need.

Duties in office:

  • Greet walk-in clients and respond to their questions.
  • Occasionally assist clients with filling out basic forms.

Qualifications:

  • Fluency in English and one additional language frequently used by GBLS clients such as Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese), Portuguese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Haitian Creole, etc.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and good judgement.
  • Ability to maintain professionalism and patience when dealing with high call volume and callers who may be distressed.
  • Ability to use computer database to enter information and search for information.
  • Ability to use basic functions of Microsoft Word and Excel.
  • Responsive to feedback about job performance.
  • Willingness and ability to learn where to refer callers.

Salary is based on a union scale, with a starting annual salary of $42,500 for a receptionist with one to three years of experience. A bilingual receptionist will be eligible to receive a language bonus of $950 per year on top of regular base salary. GBLS offers a generous benefits package, retirement contribution, and generous Paid Time Off (PTO) leave.

Candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, and brief writing sample to the Human Resources Department, via e-mail at jobs@gbls.org. Please refer to Job Code: RECEPTIONIST when applying for this position. Deadline for applications is December 31, 2023, or until the position is filled.

GBLS encourages applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

When rock bottom isn’t low enough (Boston Globe)

Below is an excerpt from an article published by the Boston Globe on December 9 revealing the drastic measures Erica Buckley and many more at-risk residents went through to navigate the emergency shelter system in Massachusetts. Greater Boston Legal Services’ Sarah Rosenkrantz and Elizabeth Alfred are mentioned. 


REVERE — Rock bottom wasn’t low enough.

Erica Buckley’s family was homeless. She had no income and had exhausted the last of her savings, as well as all the help her family could give. She and her two children had been living in hotel rooms for a year. Moving into her car, which could be repossessed at any minute, wasn’t an option. But even with all that, her family did not qualify for emergency shelter in our right to shelter state.

To do that, Buckley would have to liquidate most of her meager retirement savings, too.

The state denies emergency shelter to any family with more than $5,000 in assets — including in a 401(k). Buckley’s retirement account contained $13,310.49 as of mid-October. To qualify for shelter, she would have to take out some $8,000, pay the 10 percent early-withdrawal penalty, and spend it down, presumably to buy more nights in the small, unsustainable hotel room she shared with Ricardo, 14, Jaylene, 3, and Ricardo’s service dog, Drako.

And for what? She would only be right back in this exact same, desperate spot in a month or two. Buckley, 32, had lost so much already. She just couldn’t let this slender vestige of her old, stable life go, too. Why ever should she have to?

Read more at the Boston Globe.