The Oishei Foundation was instrumental in the creation of the Coordinated Refugee/Asylee Legal Services Project (CRLS) that aims to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate legal services to Refugee and Asylee communities. Begun in 2014, the project grew out of Oishei’ s initial connection between Journey’s End Refugee Services and the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo to address a need for legal services for the refugee community.
This led to a larger collaboration with other legal services providers, assisting refugees and asylum seekers in both immigration cases as well as other legal issues. These individuals must navigate a maze of complex laws that govern the most fundamental aspects of their lives including immigration status, housing, and more, on top of the language and cultural barriers they already face.
The Project is composed of seven legal partner agencies working together to ensure successful delivery of legal services including the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Journey’s End Refugee Services, Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, Center for Elder Law & Justice, Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc., and Western New York Law Center. Through this collaboration, many of these legal service agencies have developed relationships and continue to work together on other, non-refugee legal issues as well.