December 14, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC -- The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) will receive a $30 million increase in funding for Fiscal Year 2010 as part of a consolidated appropriations bill that has been approved by the Senate and the House.
The Senate sent the omnibus appropriations bill to President Obama for his expected signature after a 57-to-35 vote on December 13. The House approved the bill, 221 to 202, on December 10.
Under the bill, LSC receives an appropriation of $420 million. Of that total, $394.4 million will be distributed to 137 LSC-funded nonprofit legal aid programs across the nation.
"This additional funding will help every one of our programs promote equal access to justice and provide needed civil legal assistance to low-income individuals and families," LSC President Helaine M. Barnett said. "We greatly appreciate the hard work and the support of the Senate and House for making this funding increase possible. Many of our programs are overwhelmed with requests for legal assistance from low-income Americans because of these hard economic times, and this additional funding will help programs better serve their clients."
In addition to providing funds for the provision of civil legal assistance, the fiscal 2010 appropriation includes $3.4 million for technology grants that expand access to legal information, $1 million for a loan repayment program that helps new lawyers burdened with education-related debt, and $17 million for administration and oversight of legal aid grants. The bill also lifts a restriction on the ability of LSC-funded programs to pursue the recovery of attorneys' fees when it is permitted or required under federal or state law.
In September, LSC released its updated and expanded report on the justice gap in America, which found that for every client served by LSC-funded programs, another person who seeks help is turned away due to a lack of program resources. The conclusion reaffirmed the findings of the original report on the justice gap released by LSC in 2005.
"We want to thank the Congress for its bipartisan support in helping to close the justice gap," LSC President Barnett said. "We are grateful for the support of the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Appropriations committees, their staffs, and all others who helped bring about this funding increase."
LSC is the single-largest funder of civil legal assistance for the poor in the nation. Established by Congress in 1974, LSC operates as an independent nonprofit organization to promote equal access to justice and to ensure the provision of high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income Americans.