LSC and COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the work of LSC grantees and has increased demand for legal aid, especially in the areas of eviction, unemployment and domestic violence.
LSC and COVID Funding
In the CARES Act, Congress appropriated $50 million in supplemental funding to LSC for legal aid work “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally.” By April 20, 2020, LSC had awarded and distributed $49.5 million (99%) to grantees already delivering legal aid through LSC grants. The remaining $500,000 was applied to management and oversight costs.
Telework Capacity Building Grant
LSC issued over $2 million for grants to support building the telework capacity of LSC grantees during the Coronavirus outbreak. Grantees received up to $25,000 for equipment, services and related expenses to improve or expand their telework and remote access capabilities to better serve low-income populations during a time of recommended or required telework.
In February 2021, LSC requested supplemental funding of $350-500 million be included in the COVID-19 relief package to address the short- and long-term consequences of the pandemic on low-income Americans.
The new leadership of the Congressional Access to Legal Aid Caucus expressed support for LSC’s supplemental funding request at a virtual event on February 4, 2021. The co-chairs of the caucus, Reps. Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1), were joined by caucus vice chair Tom Emmer (MN-6) at LSC’s forum on COVID-19’s impact on the courts and access to justice for low-income Americans.
The caucus leadership previously had sent a letter of support for LSC’s funding request to the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies in January. LSC-funded organizations “are on the frontlines in assisting people during the pandemic,” the letter stated, and “with a significant investment, LSC grantees can continue their stellar work serving clients remotely and enhance their efforts to improve their organizational infrastructure to better serve clients.”
Frequently Asked Questions
COVID-19 Data Tools
ABA and COVID-19
LSC Eviction Study
LSC is maintaining a list of answers regarding pandemic issues affecting grants, grantee operations and client services.
LSC has assembled resources to help grantees identify high need areas in local communities, measure trends over time or compare the impact of COVID-19 across jurisdictions.
The American Bar Association’s nationwide task force is identifying the legal needs arising from the pandemic, making recommendations to address those needs and helping mobilize volunteer lawyers and legal professionals.
LSC has launched a congressionally directed study to investigate the unmet legal needs surrounding eviction in the United States. This yearlong project is particularly timely as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the lives and financial security of people across the country.
Massachusetts’s largest funder of civil legal aid services is asking lawmakers to increase state funding by 20 percent in the fiscal 2022 budget to help fund services for low-income residents facing legal issues in areas like housing, employment, education, and government benefits.
A judge in Cleveland has overturned a federal order that is stopping evictions for scores of tenants across northern Ohio.
When the coronavirus began spreading in earnest last March, states issued stay-at-home orders and asked residents to stay inside, avoid large crowds and regularly wash their hands. For more than half a million people in the U.S., that wasn’t an option. They were homeless, living without independent or reliable shelter. Researchers in San Francisco found a solution, and a year later, they’ve shown the public health benefits of providing stable housing and services to those who need them most