Legal Services Corporation Makes Its Case on the Hill

LSC, like a lot of government funded entities, is both championed and pilloried by elected officials in Washington, depending on who is speaking.  Today, LSC’s interim president and board chair made the case for an appropriation boost – from the current $420 million in FY10 to a requested $516.5 million in FY11 – by emphasizing the greatly expanded 1) pool of eligible (low-income) clients and 2) demand for the services of legal aid attorneys, particularly on matters affecting families’ economic security, such as umemployment and home foreclosures.

Testifying in front of a House Appropriations Subcommittee, Victor M. Fortuno, LSC’s interim president, said

Just as the weak economy has severely impacted the poor, it has placed a great strain on the resources that support legal aid programs. Non-federal funding for legal aid programs is declining, and LSC-funded programs are concerned about their ability to provide increased services in 2010 and 2011 … The justice gap is a harsh reality in our nation and the downturn in our economy has dramatically increased the number of people needing civil legal services. 

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