Legal Aid Providers Anticipate Surge in Evictions and Requests for Help

July 29, 2020

The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and Community Legal Aid in Akron — continuously face tough decisions of who to help and who to turn away because of finite resources. The requests for help have only picked up in recent months, and the situation could become even direr in the future.

That's why the Legal Services Corp. (LSC) the national nonprofit that funds legal aid providers across the country is asking Congress for an additional $100 million in emergency funds to help groups like those in Northeast Ohio help those in need.

A recent survey of LSC organizations serving low- and moderate-income communities found that 97% of grantees are anticipating a surge in need for legal help in the coming weeks. 

Meanwhile, 94% of respondents report seeing requests for help from people newly eligible for legal aid assistance (i.e., being within 125% of federal poverty guidelines). On average, grantees are reporting a nearly 18% increase of eligible clients as a result of the pandemic.

"The survey responses confirm that the pandemic and its economic consequences are causing or will cause a spike in legal needs in areas such as evictions, unemployment claims, and domestic violence. America's legal aid programs are responding innovatively to meet those needs while providing their services remotely and while facing state and local funding cuts," said LSC president Ronald Flagg in a statement. 

If LSC secures additional funding, both groups could see grants of roughly double those previous amounts. That money would cover the hiring of additional staff attorneys to address the coming need.

Read more.