Legal Services Corporation Requests Supplemental Funding to Help Implement American Jobs Plan
WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is requesting that supplemental funding in the range of $350-500 million be included in the infrastructure package addressing the American Jobs Plan introduced by President Biden on March 31.
Civil legal aid has a vital role in implementing the American Jobs Plan. The Plan will involve numerous complicated laws and rules to ensure that benefits go to the intended people and communities. Legal aid lawyers have extensive experience ensuring that intended beneficiaries in fact benefit from legislation for good jobs, fair wages, safe working conditions, improved public transit, affordable housing and the many other goals in the Plan. LSC provides a national funding source to ensure that the Plan’s proposals become realities.
"Legal aid can help make the American Jobs Plan work the way Congress intends,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “The Plan’s multitude of economic and other benefits are not self-executing – legal aid can ensure these benefits reach the people who the legislation was meant to help."
Access to civil legal services is particularly important for communities that have historically been excluded or harmed by some past infrastructure programs. The American Jobs Plan seeks to prioritize long-standing and persistent racial inequities. Sixty percent of LSC grantees’ clients are people of color, the majority of whom are women. Civil legal aid attorneys help tackle barriers to justice created by the intersection of race and poverty.
Support for legal aid is more important than ever. The need for legal aid has spiked as the pandemic continues to disrupt the lives and financial security of people across the country. Housing is a particular concern. LSC estimated in August that more than 5.13 million households who qualify for LSC-funded services are at risk of eviction. Civil legal needs have also surged in others key areas served by LSC grantees, including unemployment, domestic violence and health care.
The total amount LSC is requesting will help its 132 grantees expand program capacity and improve organizational infrastructure to better serve clients. LSC would also use additional funding to create a competitive grant program for grantees to provide extended representation in housing and eviction cases.
Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.