NEVADA LEGAL SERVICES’ STATEMENT ON RACIAL JUSTICE

We are horrified. The recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, George Floyd in Minnesota, and Tony McDade in Florida are abhorrent, as are the brutal beatings that we have also witnessed.  Words cannot express the devastation we feel as the list of lives lost and lives destroyed due to racism, bigotry, and intolerance grows. Like us, these people were loved members of a community. They did not deserve to have their lives taken from them.

We join with the legal aid community in condemning racism. We are encouraged and fortified by the overwhelming statements of solidarity and action from the legal aid community in Nevada and across the country. We cannot lose sight of the role legal aid organizations play in shaping systems and policies.  We must use our tools, training, and influence to confront systemic racism and fight against the disparate treatment of minorities. We are committed to advancing justice and overcoming systemic oppression. We commit to joining our colleagues to find a better path forward to achieve justice for communities of color and all minorities.

We cannot be silent. Institutional racism and the oppression of minorities are counter to our core belief in justice for all. We acknowledge that these individual events are occurring as part of a long history of oppression, hate, violence in our country, state, and local communities. Fighting for equal protections and equity has been a fundamental part of our work since we were founded more than 40 years ago. We join others in the legal aid community in their commitment to use clear language on the need for racial justice in all of our work and ensure that there is no question that we stand in solidarity with the Black community and other communities of color and against the racial inequality that still plagues our nation. Now, we heed the cries in our community and pledge to raise our voice. Racism is wrong. Oppression is inexcusable. We will use our voices to defeat racism and bigotry in all its forms.

We acknowledge that this is not easy. There is not a simple solution to the problems confronting our society. Not everyone will agree. These conversations are difficult, but we must not be afraid. We will center on perspectives that have traditionally been left out of the conversation. We will look to those who have devoted their lives to racial justice work and those who experience the impact of racism most profoundly in their daily lives. We will make mistakes and we will learn.

We commit to reexamining our own systems.  Racism—historical, structural, and governmental—pervades our society. We in the legal aid community are not immune to it and acknowledge our responsibility and obligation to work towards eliminating racism in all its forms. We know a statement is not enough; action is needed.  There are many actions organizations can take to address racial and economic justice and support an inclusive and diverse community. Today we commit to engaging in courageous conversations on race within Nevada Legal Services.  We commit to dedicating time and resources to assess NLS’ current diversity, equity and inclusion practices and to develop a holistic strategy to meet the needs of our staff, clients and community.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING COVID-19 & NLS

NLS LOCATIONS & CONTACT INFORMATION

UPDATED: MARCH 18, 2020

Due to the ongoing concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19, NLS offices are open for business, but working remotely.  Please contact us by phone or email for further assistance – click on the link below to be taken to our contact page. We encourage everyone to reach out if they have a legal issue we might be able to help with but we ask that you do not go to our offices. Instead, please continue to call or email one of our local offices for further assistance. We will do our best to respond to everyone as quickly as we are able to do so. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time.

CLICK HERE TO CONTACT US

UPCOMING NLS EVENTS

UPDATED WEEKLY

Please also see our calendar for a full listing of our events statewide:  Community Events Calendar

INFORMATION REGARDING UNEMPLOYMENT

UPDATED: May 16, 2020

FILING FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IN NEVADA

The PUA application site is now available at employnv.gov. You can also call the Nevada PUA call center at 800-603-9681. You will need to verify your 2019 income and have your 2019 tax return on hand when you apply.  For more information visit https://detr.nv.gov/Page/Pandemic_Unemployment_Assistance(PUA) or check the COVID-19 information on the DETR website.

For workers filing unemployment claims: The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) has asked that everyone file claims online if at all possible. For more information on filing options and support information click here.  They are moving staff to call centers to try to support people calling in but call volume is high.  Calls, though, may open up throughout the day even if the queue is full in the morning. You can access the online filing system at ui.nv.gov.  Click the link to access DETR's how to videos on filing unemployment claims:  Nevada Unemployment Insurance Videos.

**Remember: Once you are approved for benefits you must file weekly claims in order to remain eligible for benefits.

For more assistance on how to file access the filing Information for Claimants here.  DETR also has published these Coronavirus FAQs

NEVADA LEGAL SERVICES MAY BE ABLE TO HELP!

For more information about your eligibility for benefits, you can access our Unemployment Benefits information by visiting Know Your Rights: Work and Employment.

You can also contact any of our statewide offices for more information - Contact Us.

CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the CARES Act, recently passed in the Senate and the House, is set to address the needs of thousands of Nevadans who have faced work loss and disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, by expanding benefits and providing critical funding to Nevada to expand our current unemployment insurance system.

The legislation provides the following new unemployment benefits:

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation. Provides an extra $600-per-week boost to regular state unemployment benefits for claims through July 31, 2020, a four month period.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): Creates a special program to provide benefits to those not eligible for regular state unemployment benefits or who are unable or unavailable to work because of the COVID-19 crisis, including workers in the gig economy and other self-employed workers.  Moreover, the PUA program would cover those who recently started a job but did not earn enough to qualify for UI and those who were scheduled to commence a job but cannot because of the crisis.  PUA recipients would receive the same amount as they would receive under Disaster Unemployment Benefits (which cannot be less than half the state’s average) plus an additional $600 per week.  Covered circumstances for being unable or unavailable to work due to COVID-19 include:
    • They have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have symptoms of it and are seeking diagnosis;
    • A member of their household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
    • They are providing care for someone diagnosed with COVID-19;
    • They are providing care for a child or other household member who can’t attend school or work because it is closed due to COVID-19;
    • They are quarantined or have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
    • They were scheduled to start employment and do not have a job or cannot reach their place of employment as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak;
    • They have become the breadwinner for a household because the head of household has died as a direct result of COVID-19;
    • They had to quit their job as a direct result of COVID-19;
    • Their place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19; or
    • They meet other criteria established by the Secretary of Labor.
  • Extension of benefits:  Provides an additional thirteen weeks of benefits for those who were already collecting regular state unemployment benefits.
  • Full federal funding for work-sharing benefits: Work-sharing benefits allow companies to reduce work hours for their staff but keep them on full payroll, and maintain their health and retirement benefits. Normally, these benefits are paid out of state trust funds, which charge back the benefits to employers. The CARES ACT would fully federally reimburse states for these expenses.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR REGULATIONS

New DOL guidance came out last week providing guidance for states to provide the CARES Act unemployment benefit programs.  See Unemployment Insurance Program Letter (UIPL) 16-20.

Federal law also permits flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. See the Department of Labor for more information.  Federal law provides states flexibility to pay benefits where:

  1. An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work;
  2. An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and
  3. An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.

Governor Sisolak has so far waived the 7-day wait period to allow workers to file immediately and waived work search requirements.

FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT

The Response Act allocated emergency grants to assist states in implementing their unemployment insurance programs and allows for 100% federal funding for Extended Benefits for those states hardest hit.  Extended benefits in Nevada, if triggered, allow for an additional 13 week period of unemployment benefit eligibility.  NRS 612.377-3786.

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UPDATE REGARDING EVICTIONS

UPDATED: JUNE 26, 2020

NEVADA EVICTION MORATORIUM

On Thursday, June 25, Governor Sisolak announced a phased ending to the eviction moratorium.  Most residential evictions may continue on August 1, 2020, although evictions related to the sale of a home may be initiated as of July 1, 2020.  Residential evictions for non-payment of rent are still stayed until September 1.  The prohibition on late fees also continues until August 31.

For non-summary evictions - including mobile home park evictions, post sale and foreclosure evictions, other evictions initiated by formal complaint - may be initiated and continue as of July 1, 2020, except for mobile home park evictions for non-payment of rent.  Non-payment of rent in mobile home parks are prohibited until August 1.

NOTICE TO TENANTS OF MOTELS: The Governor's Directive 025 indicates that "public accommodations" or hotels and motels may begin to lock guests out pursuant to NRS 651.  PLEASE BE AWARE motel and hotels cannot use the provisions of NRS 651 to lock out any motel/hotel resident who qualifies as a tenant pursuant to NRS 118A.180.  Therefore, if you have resided in a motel for longer than 30 days OR you manifested an intent remain for a longer continuous period, you are legally a tenant pursuant to NRS 118A and any action to exclude you from your room or change the locks without a court order is illegal.  You may file a Verified Complaint for Illegal Lockout as a tenant under NRS 118A.390 (see Verified Complaint form on our Know Your Rights/Housing page) and Directive 025 continues to protect you as a tenant through August 31, 2020.

The Governor's Directive 025 modifies and amends Directive 008 and continues the moratorium in this phased out approach until August 31.  For the text of the Directive and FAQs visit: https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/news-resources/governor-directives-and-declarations/.

Court Administrative Orders implementing the Governor's Moratorium:

CARES Act

The CARES act also protects tenants of federally subsidized housing.  The moratorium on evictions only applies to non-payment of rent actions but does put into place a 120 stay of eviction for non-payment of rent and a waiver of all fees associated with the non-payment of rent during that time frame.  Additionally the landlord must issue a 30 day notice after the 120 period to initiate an eviction action.  Pro Publica maintains a database compiling information from a variety of sources to check to see if your landlord is federally backed.

NEVADA LEGAL SERVICES MAY BE ABLE TO HELP!

Please contact our statewide offices for further assistance if you have received an eviction notice or do not know if you live in federally assisted housing:  Contact Us.

For more information on the eviction process, please see our Know Your Rights: Housing page.

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INFORMATION REGARDING NEW LEAVE BENEFITS

UPDATED: APRIL 30, 2020

FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT

This Act - the FFCRA - provides 2 new types of leave benefits for workers directly impacted by COVID-19.  Employers may be required to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for reason related to COVID-19 until December 31, 2020.

Generally, the Act provides that covered employers must provide to all employees:[2]

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor.

A covered employer must provide to employees that it has employed for at least 30 days:[3]

  • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

Covered Employers: The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees.[4] Most employees of the federal government are covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was not amended by this Act, and are therefore not covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA. However, federal employees covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act are covered by the paid sick leave provision.

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.

Qualifying Reasons for Leave:

Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave because the employee:

  1. is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
  3. is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
  5. is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
  6. is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.

Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for expanded family leave if the employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.

Duration of Leave:

For reasons (1)-(4) and (6): A full-time employee is eligible for up to 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period.

For reason (5): A full-time employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave at 40 hours a week, and a part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.

Calculation of Pay:[5]

For leave reasons (1), (2), or (3): employees taking leave shall be paid at either their regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).

For leave reasons (4) or (6): employees taking leave shall be paid at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).

For leave reason (5): employees taking leave shall be paid at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $12,000 in the aggregate (over a 12-week period—two weeks of paid sick leave followed by up to 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave).[6]

Tax Credits: Covered employers qualify for dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for all qualifying wages paid under the FFCRA. Qualifying wages are those paid to an employee who takes leave under the Act for a qualifying reason, up to the appropriate per diem and aggregate payment caps. Applicable tax credits also extend to amounts paid or incurred to maintain health insurance coverage. For more information, please see the Department of the Treasury’s website.

Employer Notice: Each covered employer must post in a conspicuous place on its premises a notice of FFCRA requirements.[7]

Prohibitions: Employers may not discharge, discipline, or otherwise discriminate against any employee who takes paid sick leave under the FFCRA and files a complaint or institutes a proceeding under or related to the FFCRA.

Penalties and Enforcement: Employers in violation of the first two weeks’ paid sick time or unlawful termination provisions of the FFCRA will be subject to the penalties and enforcement described in Sections 16 and 17 of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 29 U.S.C. 216; 217. Employers in violation of the provisions providing for up to an additional 10 weeks of paid leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) are subject to the enforcement provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Department will observe a temporary period of non-enforcement for the first 30 days after the Act takes effect, so long as the employer has acted reasonably and in good faith to comply with the Act.  For purposes of this non-enforcement position, “good faith” exists when violations are remedied and the employee is made whole as soon as practicable by the employer, the violations were not willful, and the Department receives a written commitment from the employer to comply with the Act in the future. [See https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave]

See the Department of Labor for more information at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.

The temporary rule promulgated by the Department of Labor was published in the Federal Register on April 6, 2020 and corrected on April 10, 2020.

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE FORECLOSURE MORATORIUM AND THE CARES ACT

UPDATED: April 7, 2020

The CARES ACT, HUD, and several private banks and loan servicers have foreclosure moratoriums that suspend mortgage payments for a limited time and prohibit adverse information on your credit history if you seek a forbearance.

HUD/FHA Loans

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) would institute an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single-family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages.

Other federally backed mortgages

The CARES Act provides mortgage forbearance for all federally financed or insured loans involving Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, HUD, VA, and USDA.  Single family (1 to 4 units) homeowners can seek a 6 month forbearance if they cannot make a mortgage payment based on the COVID-19 crisis.  Multi-family (5 units or more) property owners can seek a 30 day forbearance, with a 60 day extension if needed.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have also suspended evictions for sixty (60) days and foreclosures for a longer period of time for Enterprise-backed mortgages. "Enterprise-backed" means owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, as indicated here for Fannie Mae or here for Freddie Mac.

Additionally, as a condition of forbearance for multifamily Enterprise-backed mortgages, housing providers must suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to the impact of the coronavirus. The eviction suspension must be in place for the entire duration of the forbearance period. The forbearance is available to all multifamily properties with an Enterprise-backed performing multifamily mortgage negatively affected by the coronavirus national emergency. ­­­

The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development (RD) has also implemented a foreclosure and eviction moratoriums for USDA Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP) mortgages and single-family direct home mortgages. During the moratorium, mortgage servicers must halt the initiation of all new foreclosure actions, suspend all foreclosure actions currently in process, and stop all evictions of persons living in properties with SFHGLP and direct mortgages. The moratorium will expire sixty (60) days after their announcements.

Please contact us if you need assistance with any of these programs.

Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium and Forbearance Info:

HUD/FHA Moratorium:  https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/HUD_No_20_042

HUD/FHA Forbearance:  https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/HUD_No_20_048

Mortgagee Letter 2020-06:  https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/OCHCO/documents/20-06hsngml.pdf

(updates Handbook 4000.1: https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/OCHCO/documents/4000.1hsgh.pdf)

Enterprise backed mortgages (Fannie/Freddie):

Fannie Mae Forbearancehttps://www.knowyouroptions.com/covid19assistance, https://www.knowyouroptions.com/options-to-stay-in-your-home/overview/forbearance, https://www.knowyouroptions.com/options-to-stay-in-your-home/overview/repayment-plan, Extended Modification for Disaster Relief https://singlefamily.fanniemae.com/media/16451/display and Updates to Lender Letter for COVID-19 Servicing https://singlefamily.fanniemae.com/media/22261/display

Freddie Mac Resourceshttp://www.freddiemac.com/about/covid-19.html, Guides for Forbearances and Modifications https://guide.freddiemac.com/app/guide/bulletin/2020-4, and Disaster Relief Reference Guide https://sf.freddiemac.com/content/_assets/resources/pdf/update/disaster_mod.pdf

VA Loanshttps://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/documents/circulars/26_20_7.pdf, https://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/documents/circulars/26_20_12.pdf

Eviction Moratorium and Guidance for Landlords: https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/info/business/

 

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AVOID CORONAVIRUS RELATED SCAMS

Please be aware of scams!  Scammers target people in stressful situations.  Scams have already begun to spread online and on social media.  Please see Fraud Corner - COVID 19 Fraud Final for more information about coronavirus related scams.

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