November 10, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC -- The Legal Services Corporation has awarded $3.5 million in technology grants to LSC-funded programs, including a grant to develop a national website for veterans, military personnel and families who seek help for their civil legal problems, LSC President Helaine M. Barnett announced today.
For 2009, LSC has awarded 38 technology grants to 25 programs in 19 states. The grants were made through LSC's Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) program, and the total amount awarded -- $3,505,761 -- included $330,000 from the State Justice Institute.
To help military personnel and their families, especially armed forces personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, LSC selected four programs to create centralized resources to provide civil legal materials and assistance. These grants will be used to develop and implement a national website that will provide information and online tools designed to address specific civil legal needs of veterans, military personnel, individuals with a military connection, such as family members, and the people who provide legal assistance. The website also will offer specialized training for legal aid attorneys, private attorneys who volunteer their services, and others who help veterans and military personnel.
Four LSC programs were selected to receive TIG awards for the development of these resources and legal materials. They are Pine Tree Legal Assistance, based in Portland, Maine; the Legal Aid Society in Louisville, Kentucky; Colorado Legal Services, based in Denver, and Wisconsin Judicare, based in Wausau, Wisconsin.
With millions of Americans slipping into poverty because of the weak economy, LSC also awarded technology grants to create consumer law materials, including self-help guides and videos, and resources to simplify the creation of legal documents for low-income individuals and families representing themselves in court. Four programs will undertake this initiative: North Penn Legal Services in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Center for Arkansas Legal Services in Little Rock; Atlanta Legal Aid Society, and Idaho Legal Aid Services, based in Boise. The TIG awards include funds for cooperative work with the National Consumer Law Center in Boston.
"These grants will go a long way toward improving the services that our programs provide veterans, military personnel, military families and the increasing number of low-income Americans who are at risk of losing their jobs, health insurance and homes in this unsteady economy," LSC President Helaine M. Barnett said. "These grants are part of a continuing effort by LSC to use technology to expand access to justice."
LSC holds an annual competition for TIG awards, which seek to make it easier for low-income Americans to apply for civil legal assistance and obtain legal information. In the competition for TIG funding, programs propose innovative ways to expand client intake through online systems, to expand assistance to unrepresented litigants through the development of self-help forms, and to replicate technologies that improve client services.
LSC was created by Congress in 1974 as an independent nonprofit organization to promote equal access to justice in our nation and to support the provision of high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income Americans. The Corporation, which funds 137 programs with 918 offices, is the single largest funder of civil legal aid in the country.
The State Justice Institute awards grants to improve the quality of justice in the courts, facilitate better coordination between state and federal courts, and foster innovative, efficient solutions to common issues faced by all courts.
Glenn Rawdon, the LSC program counsel in charge of TIG, and Helaine Barnett praised the Institute for being a steadfast supporter of TIG. The partnership between LSC and the Institute is in its fourth year.