Several recent blogs postings here at MakingJusticeReal.org have discussed the growing concern among the legal services community that funding for legal services programs may be eliminated in the next DC budget cycle. The legal services community has been doing a great deal to try and preserve this funding. The latest effort is the creation of a petition for DC residents to sign in an effort to give the people themselves a voice.
The petition reads as follows:
PROTECT LEGAL SERVICES FUNDING!
As a D.C. resident, I strongly support the D.C. Access to Justice Commission and urge the D.C. Council to protect funding for legal services programs funded through the Access to Justice program. The Access to Justice Commission was created in 2005 to address low and moderate income residents' unmet need for civil legal services.
Legal services provide D.C. residents – particularly impoverished, disabled, and senior residents - access to a lawyer when their most fundamental needs are at risk. Every day, legal services lawyers keep people in their homes; ensure children have access to health care; assist domestic violence victims; help secure disability benefits; and protect low-income workers.
Given the current economic climate, the demand for legal services has grown by 20%. At the same time, funding for legal services is shrinking dramatically. More than 25% of funding for legal services was cut in the last year alone, which meant the loss of attorneys and an alarming reduction in the services available for the District’s most vulnerable residents. We stand with our fellow residents and urge you to restore legal services funding today!