IOLTA (Interest on Lawyer’s
Trust Accounts) the major funding for legal aid has
been devastated by a decrease in the size of lawyers’ trust
accounts because of the collapse in the housing market
and reduction in interest rates to less than 1% percent.
Without additional funding, programs are facing a
reduction of around 25% in staffing and services,
when poor people need us the most.
The legal aid programs
are helping victims of domestic violence; children
with disabilities; elderly people facing collection
agencies and nursing home problems; tenants facing
homelessness as a result of the foreclosure actions
against their landlords; people with disabilities
seeking federal support; and many more.
As an example,
the number of Connecticut residents needing food stamps
has almost doubled since 2007.
the hard times, because of increased fund raising
efforts, donations from the legal community have
actually increased. Legal Aid has received foundation
funding, maximized federal funding, and maintained
our support from local United Ways. But even with
these, and important state funding help in 2009,
legal aid programs have shrunk through layoff, attrition,
and continued unpaid days.
Legal aid services help people
get out of domestic violence shelters, avoid homeless
shelters, help disabled people access federal benefits,
and help senior citizens maintain their independence.
Legal aid programs reduce the number of unrepresented
people flooding the courts, and leverage donated
legal help for the poor from the private bar. Reductions
in legal services will increase cost in other safety
net programs and delay access to justice to everyone
who needs access to our courts.
to use court fees to raise
$5.2 million to address the legal aid funding gap,
along with additional funds for court technology
needs. The bill is HB 5388, An Act Concerning Court Fees And The Delivery Of Legal Services To The Poor; the bill is awaiting a vote from the state House of Representatives. Please click
here to contact your State Senator and State Representative to support this proposal, to avoid terrible cuts in the legal aid network at a time of great need.
Thank you for your support.
With your assistance, we will continue to address the
needs of the increasing numbers of low-income people
in crisis, who need legal aid's help!
Connecticut Legal Services
New Haven Legal Assistance Association
Greater Hartford Legal Aid