February 2, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C.--The Legal Services Corporation is requesting $411,800,000 in funding for FY 2007, a $48 million increase over the FY 2006 request and $85.2 million over the final (post-rescission) FY 2006 appropriation.
Over 95 percent of the proposed increase is for grants to the local legal aid programs to address the significant gap in the unmet civil legal needs of low-income Americans and to improve grantee efficiency and effectiveness through innovative and expanded use of technology.
LSC recently completed its first comprehensive study of the unmet civil legal needs of low-income Americans and issued a report, Documenting the Justice Gap in America: The Current Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans. Most significantly, the study found that for each person who received legal assistance from an LSC-funded program, at least one eligible client was turned away due to lack of resources. The report, unanimously approved by LSC's Board of Directors in October 2005, found that a doubling of federal and non-federal support of LSC grantees would be necessary just to serve the individuals and families who were eligible for and seeking assistance from LSC-funded programs.
LSC Board Chairman Frank B. Strickland said "LSC recognizes the fiscal constraints facing Congress. However, we hope Congress will conclude that turning away over 50 percent of eligible individuals who need legal assistance is an unacceptable situation."
"The proposed LSC budget, which would increase funding for the delivery of basic legal services by 20 percent, represents a necessary first step towards addressing the needs documented in the Justice Gap report and meeting our nation's goal of equal justice for all," noted LSC President Helaine M. Barnett.