The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation issued a statement about the budget released today by the House Ways and Means Committee. Bottom line is that without increased funding, civil legal aid orgs in the state will be turning more people away:
Increased funding from the Commonwealth will help stabilize the finances of legal aid organizations still struggling to rebound from the 2008 financial crisis. MLAC’s revenue from another key funding source, the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program, has dropped 85 percent from $17 million in 2008 to $2.6 million this year. The decline has forced MLAC-funded legal aid organizations to lay off nearly 40 percent of their attorneys since 2008, and many face more layoffs this year without additional funding. The staff reductions mean that more than half of the domestic violence victims, families facing foreclosure and others who request civil legal assistance are turned away. People seeking help from MLAC-funded civil legal aid organizations must have incomes below 125 percent of the federal poverty level, or $573 per week for a family of four.
You can read the full statement here.