Post: “Need is up, but funding plummets for legal aid”

Today’s Washington Post Metro section led with an article about the funding crisis faced by legal aid programs across the country. “At the heart of the problem are historically low interest rates,” the article explained. “Legal aid societies nationwide rely on income generated through an arcane process linked to the federal rate, and ‘what’s been good news for everyone else was a blow to us,’ said Susan Erlichman, executive director of the Maryland Legal Services Corp.

Meanwhile, demand is through the roof.

“The Maryland Legal Aid Bureau opened 17,600 cases in the past year–up 1,100 over the previous 12 months–and also referred more cases elsewhere,” the article continued. “The bureau, the state’s largest provider of free civil aid, is operating with $1 million less in interest proceeds, an 11 percent cut.

“Several times each week, the Baltimore office has a day-long program to screen walk-in cases, and slots are taken within 90 minutes of the doors’ opening, said Wilhelm Joseph Jr., executive director. ‘I’m seeing something I have not seen before: people showing up in ties and white shirts filling our seats.'”

To read the article, click here.

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