As Need for Services Increases, Legal Aid Programs Suffer Budget Cuts


Providers of civil legal services to the poor are having to furlough their staff, triage their clients, and turn away more people in need as a result of the congressional budget compromise reached last month, reports Legal services may include defending low-income individuals dealing with predatory lending, domestic violence, landlord-tenant disputes or foreclosure. The umbrella nonprofit group Legal Services Corporation had its funding cut by $15.8 million, a 4 percent decline.

The modest reduction isn’t the only reason that the 136 legal aid programs across the country funded through LSC are in a tight spot. In addition to less funding from the federal government, they have limited support from cash-strapped states, dwindling revenue from trust accounts and a growing population of people eligible and in need of their help. ProPublica details budget crunches at legal aid offices from New York City, New Jersey and Maine to Idaho.

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