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Fight for Fairness: Take Action to Save PLA and Other Legal Aid Programs

Fight for Fairness: Take Action to Save PLA and Other Legal Aid Programs

Date Posted: 
03/21/2017

Civil legal aid helps people who are depending on justice for survival: veterans denied rightfully earned benefits, families fighting wrongful evictions, women trapped in abusive relationships, and parents seeking custody of their children.

Many civil legal aid programs are funded by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), including Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA), the only federally-funded provider of legal aid to low-income Philadelphians.  The President’s proposed budget would eliminate LSC, dismantling civil legal aid programs nationwide and making it impossible for many Americans to get justice. Without LSC funding, PLA and other legal aid programs will not survive.

Community Legal Services stands in support of PLA and other LSC-funded programs, and encourages people to take action to fight for fairness. Call your members of Congress today and ask them to save the Legal Services Corporation!

Gutting civil legal aid would devastate families and vulnerable people across the U.S.    Millions of Americans cannot afford the legal help they need when facing life-changing situations, such as domestic violence, unlawful eviction, or the wrongful denial of benefits for veterans or people with disabilities. Legal aid programs, including PLA and other LSC-funded programs, assure fairness for all in the justice system, regardless of how much money you have. For many families, civil legal aid is the difference between keeping their homes or being forced out onto the street.

Philadelphia Legal Assistance is vital to the lives and safety of people in our city.  Last year, PLA helped more than 5,300 clients protect their livelihoods, their health, and their families. PLA does incredibly important work, including helping parents escaping family violence obtain Protection from Abuse orders or custody of their children; preventing senior citizens from losing their homes; fighting food insecurity; assisting people who have been exploited by their workplace; and fighting predatory consumer scams. PLA is the second largest legal aid organization in Philadelphia. If LSC is defunded, PLA will close down, and significantly more people who are struggling to get by will be denied access to free, basic legal services.

Civil legal aid makes fiscal sense and is a good investment.   In Pennsylvania, studies have shown that civil legal aid yields an investment return of approximately $11 for every $1 spent. Additionally, civil legal aid saves taxpayer money by preventing homelessness, reducing shelter costs for victims of violence, and helping people find employment. Funding for LSC is a miniscule part of the federal budget, but eliminating LSC would impact all of us.

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