June 2019 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER / June 2019

South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS) is a non-profit law firm. We provide free legal services in a wide variety of civil (non-criminal) legal matters to eligible low income residents of South Carolina. Our mission is to provide legal services to protect the rights and represent the interests of low income South Carolinians.

Judgment Proof

Veronica Blake thought she needed to file bankruptcy when she was sued by Sunshine Finance.  South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS) clients are often fearful that bankruptcy is the only answer, because debt buyers and finance companies often tell them that. However, when you are on a fixed income and have no assets to protect (such as a house or a car), the creditor has no remedy against you other than to get a judgment that they cannot collect.  We call this the bankruptcy bypass or being judgment proof, because South Carolina law prohibits garnishment of wages for consumer debt.

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Helping Victims of Stalking

The constant fear of being watched and repeated acts of unwanted conduct is psychological torment. Whereas an incident of physical abuse is limited in time to the actual act itself, even if it recurs, stalking, and the anxiety it produces, takes place on a 24 hour, never ending continuum.

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Charleston Housing Court

In 2016, North Charleston experienced the highest rate of eviction (16.5 out of 100 renters) of any area in the United States.  The national average was 6.53 per 100.  In that same timeframe, 10.03 households per day were evicted.  Up to 70% of tenants facing eviction have no recourse to legal knowledge or representation.

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Student Loans and You

Over 40 million Americans have an average student loan debt of $30,000.00. Because they are unemployed or have income below the poverty line, 28% of borrowers are unable to make payments on their student loans. It is important to be aware of all the effects, advantages and disadvantages of taking out a student loan.

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Human Trafficking

  • Reopening old convictions related to trafficking, such as prostitution, to get them vacated and expunged so that survivors can get a fresh start
  • Reuniting families torn apart by trafficking and restoring child custody for trafficking survivors who have regained stability in their lives
  • Working with law enforcement and victims’ advocates to identify human trafficking survivors in need of civil legal services to regain freedom and self-sufficiency
  • Educating the public, legal communities, and service providers about the importance of the availability of civil legal aid to address the problems of labor and sex trafficking

Medical-Legal Partnership

  • Improving hospital patients’ health through an integrated, holistic approach that directly addresses and removes patients’ health-harming civil legal barriers
  • Providing training to health care staff to be able to identify and refer patients with legal needs
  • Trailblazing with the first Medical-Legal partnership in South Carolina