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For Our Community

By Rachel Houseman, Esquire
Managing Attorney
Legal Aid of Southeastern PA, Chester County Division


mong the many proposed cuts to the federal budget
recently proposed by President Trump is elimination
of funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).
Lower income people living in Chester County rely on
federally funded legal services to resolve serious problems
that impact their children, their health and their ability to
support themselves. Among those who receive free legal
help are low-income people who are: victims of disasters, are
wrongfully evicted from homes, are trying to escape domestic
violence, or are trying to gain education for special
needs children.
LSC is the single largest funder of civil legal aid in the
country and provided nearly $12 million to Pennsylvania's
civil legal services organizations in 2016, including $270,994
for the Chester County Division of LASP. In addition to
the proposed zeroing out of LSC funding, also at risk are
the federal funds LASP receives through Title XX and
Community Development Block Grants. The Chester County
Division risks losing 44% of its budget of $761,017 - leaving
many county residents without access to legal help.

LASP is not alone in receiving significant funding from LSC.
Other LSC supported legal service organizations in Pennsylvania
include Laurel Legal Services Inc., MidPenn Legal Services,
Neighborhood Legal Services Association, North Penn Legal
Services, Northwestern Legal Services, Philadelphia Legal
Assistance Center and Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services
Inc. These organizations handled more than 82,000 cases in 2015.
All are at risk of losing significant funding, leaving thousands of
Pennsylvanians without the legal help they need.
Losing access to free, civil legal services will have a profound
impact on lower income residents in Chester County and
throughout Pennsylvania. When vulnerable people have nowhere to
turn for legal help, they are essentially denied equal access to justice
and their well-being is at risk.
Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania (LASP) is a non-profit
Pennsylvania corporation committed to delivering high quality civil
legal services to low-income people, victims of domestic abuse and the
elderly living in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties.
It was created in 2001 to take over the operation of the four former
legal services programs in each of the counties. LASP is supported
by federal, state and county funds, local and regional foundations
and businesses, and through the generosity of bar associations,
foundations, law firms and individual attorneys.

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