On February 19, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would shut down the Corporation for National and Community Service and put an end to several large-scale service programs – including AmeriCorps, which funds organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Teach for America, City Year, Jumpstart, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. The impact of such legislation would be devastating.
Here at Legal Aid, we have seen the difference that AmeriCorps funding can make first-hand. In just the past two years, the AmeriCorps program has enabled Legal Aid to expand the scope of its services through the creation of two Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow positions focusing on providing legal representation and advice to homeless veterans and to low-income DC homeowners facing foreclosure. Through the work of these fellows and their projects, individuals in desperate need of help have been able to obtain legal assistance – for veterans, this has included assistance with child support and public benefits issues creating barriers to veterans finding housing and reentering the workforce; for low-income homeowners, this has included assistance negotiating loan modifications and litigating mortgage-related scam cases. Both fellows have conducted extensive outreach and education in the community about their respective issue areas.
Congress must now reach a budget compromise by March 18th. Whether that compromise will include funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service and AmeriCorps remains unknown. Help save these invaluable programs by calling your Senators today. Find out more about what you can do at www.saveservice.org