LSC Receives $135 Million Spending Boost in U.S. House of Representatives Bill
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the FY 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations bill today, providing $550 million for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). This is an increase of $135 million over LSC’s current funding and the largest appropriation proposal LSC has ever received in absolute dollars.
This bill follows the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2019 passed in June that designated $15 million for LSC to fund recovery efforts related to hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and other natural disasters that occurred from 2017-2019. These funds support legal services providers helping disaster survivors access insurance benefits and fight wrongful evictions and consumer scams.
“We are very grateful to the House for recognizing that the Legal Services Corporation promotes the most fundamental of American values – equal justice under law,” said LSC President James J. Sandman. “The additional funding would allow more victims of domestic violence to obtain protection orders, more veterans to access the benefits they have earned, and more tenants to avoid unlawful evictions.”
More than 90% of the appropriation is allocated for Basic Field grants to fund the direct delivery of legal assistance. LSC distributes most of its funding to 132 independent legal aid organizations serving every county in every state and the territories. These legal aid offices provide critical constituent services to low-income Americans.
More than 60% of all cases closed by LSC grantees involve family law matters, such as child custody, child support and adoptions, and housing matters, such as evictions and foreclosures. In 2017, more than 58 million low-income Americans were eligible for LSC-funded legal assistance.
The Senate has not scheduled consideration of any FY 2020 appropriations bills.