February 5, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, DC- The Legal Services Corporation is requesting $430,681,000 from Congress for FY 2008, an $18.8 million increase over LSC's FY 2007 request, and $82.1 million more than the current funding level.
Over 95% of the requested increase will be distributed in grants to 138 legal aid programs providing high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income Americans in every state and territory in the nation. Additional grants will fund innovative technology projects aimed at improving the quality and availability of legal services, to help more people at a lower cost per person.
Grants from the Legal Services Corporation represent the biggest single source of funding for civil legal services programs nationwide, and much more is needed to begin addressing the significant gap in unmet civil legal needs documented in LSC's comprehensive study on the subject, 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, 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 more than what the Senate Appropriations Committee approved for FY 2007, represents a necessary 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.
To download a copy of LSC's FY 2008 budget request, click here.