The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division stands with William J. Schifino, Jr., President of The Florida Bar, in strong opposition to the proposed funding cuts to the Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”).
In a March 21, 2017, statement, President Schifino said: “…the latest budget proposal eliminates funding for the national organization providing vital grants to nonprofit legal organizations that assist low-income people. Defunding LSC would cause a loss of more than $21 million a year to Florida’s already stressed legal aid system, leaving vulnerable children, seniors, veterans and many other Floridians without advocates to protect their legal rights.”
A recent study commissioned by The Florida Bar Foundation found a seven-fold return on investment in civil legal services.
Not only do civil legal aid dollars help low-income families avoid catastrophic events, like domestic violence, eviction, and foreclosure, but the LSC is a good investment in our community.
A 2016 study commissioned by the Florida Bar Foundation shows that every $1 spent on civil legal services in Florida generates more than $7 in economic returns. That investment in civil legal services translated into an estimated:
- $274.8 million in increased revenue to Florida businesses;
- $264.3 million in income and reimbursements to Floridians;
- 2,243 new jobs in Florida.
The benefits of LSC funding are widespread. They are vital lifelines to vulnerable members of our community, like returning veterans, the elderly, and the disabled. And they help businesses retain low-wage employees, reduce the costs of avoided foreclosures, and save public funds for emergency medical care and shelters.
We need to urge Congress to preserve this vital funding of LSC, an organization that serves a critical need in our community.
If you are interested in this important issue, please contact your elected federal representatives directly or sign up for the ABA’s “Legal Aid Defender” program by clicking the link below.