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 ProPublica.org. 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.