COVID-19 Relief Grants Awarded to LSC Grantees
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) has awarded the $50 million it received in the CARES Act to legal services providers across the country. The funding will support LSC grantees in assisting low-income clients facing job losses, evictions, domestic violence and other problems stemming from the pandemic.
LSC awarded $2.4 million for Telework Capacity Grants to 126 of its grantees. This funding will support new equipment, services and related expenses needed for legal services organizations to improve or expand telework capabilities to better serve low-income populations. LSC is also providing technical assistance to many grantees to enhance their ability to work and provide services remotely. LSC awarded more than $47 million to its grantees to address the critical civil legal needs confronting many low-income families. In order to allocate these funds to the areas of the country most affected by COVID-19, LSC used unemployment insurance data in conjunction with the poverty-population data to distribute funds to all 132 grantees. (See distribution chart).
Legal services providers are essential to helping families affected by the pandemic get back on their feet. COVID-19 is already causing a significant spike in the need for legal services related to unemployment and housing issues. Low-income families unable to access healthcare and seniors who are victims of scams also need legal assistance.
Numerous jurisdictions are also reporting increases in domestic violence rates due to economic stress and isolation associated with COVID-19 prevention efforts, Legal services providers play a critical role in assisting clients to obtain protective orders.
LSC has recently requested a second emergency appropriation of $50 million, after having initially asked Congress for $100 million.
“We are grateful that Congress has recognized that COVID-19 is dramatically increasing the life-altering civil legal needs faced by low income Americans and that legal aid can make a meaningful difference in addressing those needs,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “The dramatic spike in legal needs caused by COVID-19 coupled with precipitous declines in state and local funding underscore the need for additional emergency federal funding for legal aid.”