News & Events

Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida Announces New Executive Director

BROWARD COUNTY, FL – (January 22, 2019) – The Board of Directors of Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Patrice Paldino, Esq., M.S.Ed., as the organization’s new Executive Director.

Most recently Paldino served as the Director of Housing Rights Programs at Legal Aid Service of Broward County (LAS). For the past nine years she managed a team responsible for the development and coordination of legal services to low income tenants facing eviction, termination of subsidized housing benefits or residing in homes with unacceptable living conditions. In this capacity, Ms. Paldino focused on preventing homelessness for high risk groups such as persons living with HIV/AIDS, Veterans, and families in the foster care system. Of particular note was a pilot project she developed to provide extended housing legal services to persons living with HIV/AIDS through a Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) federal grant. The project demonstrated how clean, affordable housing has a direct positive impact on the health care outcomes and viral load suppression of persons living with HIV/AIDS, not to mention the significant fiscal impact and cost savings realized by other parts of the system when attorneys are able to resolve legal issues for the clients.

Using the HOPWA program as a model, Paldino developed a program for Veterans through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) federal grant to provide holistic legal services to prevent homelessness for our Veteran population. She also served on the development team for Broward County’s Housing, Empowerment, Achievement, Recovery, Triumph (HEART) Alliance funded to maintain stable housing for families who would otherwise have their children removed to the foster care system due to a lack of appropriate housing. 

Paldino’s understanding of how poverty and housing injustice intersects with other social factors has resulted in speaking engagements on topics such as Housing Rights for Seniors Aging with HIV; Housing Rights for Domestic Violence survivors; and Fair Housing issues, such as the right to reasonable accommodations in housing and the right to live free from racial, sexual or gender discrimination, at events funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). She is a nationally recognized expert in the Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) model for the delivery of legal services and the need to include legal services in housing case management programs. She has spoken at the North American Housing and HIV/AIDS Research Summit IX: Structural Interventions and Ending the Epidemic, Washington, D.C., Speaker, August, 2018; the North American Housing; ABA Conference HIV Law and Practice, New Orleans, LA, Presenter, 2018; National Conference on Social Work and AIDS, Washington D.C., Presenter, 2018 and 2017; and HIV/AIDS Research Summit VIII: Tackling the Social Drivers of HIV, Washington D.C., Speaker, September, 2015. In addition, she serves as a consultant to the Temple University MLP Team funded by the National Institute of Health.

Throughout her career, Patrice Paldino has consistently worked to improve the lives of people in her community. Early in her career she represented the State of Florida in dependency cases where children suffered the most extreme abuse, abandonment or neglect. She began her legal career as an Assistant General Counsel to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board where she drafted sections of the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Law which were subsequently adopted by the State Legislature.

Known for her outstanding advocacy and effectiveness in negotiating favorable settlements for her clients, Paldino also does not shy away from litigation. She has participated in several appeals, one of which resulted in a favorable ruling from the 4th District Court of Appeals with a direct impact on renters statewide. Specifically, the appellate court ruled that eviction courts violate tenants’ due process rights when the court grants a motion to dismiss the eviction case but awards rent to the landlord nonetheless. This has significant impact in a State such as Florida where the law requires a tenant to post rent in order to be entitled to a hearing.   

Since 2009, Paldino has been a member of the Florida Housing Umbrella Group (HUG), a statewide collaboration of legal aid housing attorneys. She has chaired the group for the past two years, coordinating and presenting trainings for members on issues involving housing law and evidence law.  She also sat on the Board of Directors of Crisis Housing Solutions (CHS) for five years. CHS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the statewide development of affordable housing.

“We’re extremely pleased to have Patrice step into the role as our new Executive Director for CCLA,” said Jeffrey Wank, Board Chair. “Her exceptional work on housing issues along with her experience and commitment to helping the less fortunate in our community is second to none, making her the perfect person for this position.”

Paldino received a M.S. in Education and Community and Social Change from the University of Miami in 2013; graduated cum laude with a JD from New England Law in 1996; and graduated with honors with a B.S. degree from Rutgers University in 1992.  She is a proud alumna of Leadership Broward Class XXXII.

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Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida is a not-for-profit law firm established in 2003 and funded, in part, by the Legal Services Corporation. Our mission is to improve the lives of low-income persons in our community through advocacy, education, representation and empowerment. http://www.coasttocoastlegalaid.org/

 

Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA) is a 501(c)(3) corporation registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer services (#CH19226).  All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free 1-800-435-7352 within the state OR VISITING WWW.FRESHFROMFLORIDA.COM.  Registration does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by the State.