The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) was created to promote equal access to justice by providing funding assistance to civil legal aid programs that exist in every congressional district.
In Ohio, there are five LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations that annually help over 124,000 Ohioans struggling to make ends meet address civil legal problems that stand in their way of living safe, stable, and healthy lives.
LSC funding provided nearly $14 million to Ohio’s legal aids in FY20, including an additional $1.97 million in supplemental funding to respond to COVID-19 pandemic.
Congress last year increased LSC funding by $25 million to its current funding level—$465 million. Despite this increase, funding remains insufficient to meet the need for services. Prior to the pandemic, 1 in 5 Ohioans was income-eligible for legal aid’s assistance.
Please reach out to your Congressperson to ask them to include an additional $350-500 million in supplemental funding for LSC in the American Jobs Plan, so legal aid can play its part in helping Ohio and Ohioans recover from the pandemic. Please also ask them to support robust funding for LSC in FY22 budget, so legal aid can continue serving Ohioans struggling to make ends meet.
The need for legal aid remains high as the pandemic continues to disrupt the lives and financial security of people across the country. LSC released a survey of its grantee organizations in July 2020, which found that its grantees were struggling with growing demand for services amid the pandemic. Ninety-four percent of the organizations surveyed said they were seeing clients who were newly eligible for LSC-funded legal aid due to the pandemic.
In Ohio, the pandemic has created a surge in need for legal assistance with cases related to housing stability and financial security as Ohioans and their families experience the strain of the pandemic.
To address these unique needs, LSC requested $100 million of additional emergency funding, and Congress included $50 million of emergency funding—only half the requested amount—in the CARES Act, which passed in March 2020. Since then, the need for additional supplemental funding to address the special concerns of the pandemic has only grown.