Need For Volunteers in Low-Income Communities Greater Than Ever, Expert Tells UF Law Students
With many experts predicting an economic recession in the U.S. in 2008, the need for volunteers in low-income communities is greater than ever, April Carrie Charney, a nationally recognized expert in consumer law, told a group of University of Florida law students Feb. 1. The students learned about the Rural Outreach Project, a volunteer program funded by Three Rivers Legal Services, which teaches students about the rights of lower income families, while giving those families an opportunity to interact with current lawyers about these issues.
Whitney Untiedt, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps attorney for Three Rivers, said Charney (pictured above) was brought to the law school to talk to the volunteers about the issues facing low-income communities and how law student volunteers can make a difference in their community. She said the students will be presenting to such groups as Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network, housing authority groups and migrant workers. Charney, who has been in practice for 28 years, urged students to get involved with volunteering as early in their law career as possible.
Charney’s presentation capitalized on recent issues in consumer law in light of the current economy crisis, including credit card debt, mortgage foreclosures, rent-to-own, and payday loan businesses.
“I see a change in our country that is scaring the hell out of me,” Charney said of the current economic outlook. Charney said the most frustrating thing in her job is dealing with the legislature to explain issues with respect to foreclosures. She explained this when she told a story of how Florida’s CFO had no idea how to stem the tide of homeowners losing their homes and came to Charney for advice.
“This is economic HIV because we are all infected,” Charney said. “We are all at risk. We truly are facing a big crisis in our country.”
Students interested in getting involved with the Rural Outreach Project should cotact Unitiedt firstname.lastname@example.org or call Three Rivers Legal Services at (352) 372-0519.