July 12, 2017: NYS Bar Association Calls on House Appropriations Committee to Increase, Not Slash, Vital Legal Services for the Poor

The New York State Bar Association strongly urges the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote Thursday to significantly increase the funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) from the amount proposed by its subcommittee. 

“To carry out its critical mission, the Corporation needs a significant increase in its current funding of $385 million—rather than a cut of $85 million,” said President Sharon Stern Gerstman. “Through LSC grants, local organizations help low-income Americans with critical legal needs.” 

“The legal services providers protect the rights of veterans returned from war who are denied benefits they earned while defending our country; families facing loss of their homes to foreclosure, despite protections afforded by law; tenants who face homelessness as a consequence of evictions, even with valid defenses; parents at risk of losing custody of their children; and victims of natural disasters left to deal with tragedy, without the benefits that are available to victims,” Gerstman explained. 

In New York, seven legal services providers currently receive in excess of $20 million a year to assist New Yorkers from Montauk to Buffalo. Yet, well over half of the eligible applicants for their services are rejected due to lack of resources. 

“The need is real. It is time for Congress to recognize the need and provide adequate funding for LSC,” Gerstman said. 

The New York legal service providers receiving LSC grants are: 
Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York (Utica)
Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York (Albany)
Legal Assistance of Western New York (Geneva)
Legal Services NYC (New York City)
Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (White Plains)
Nassau Suffolk Law Services Committee (Hempstead)
Neighborhood Legal Services (Buffalo)

The 72,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.

-30-

Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen
Director of Media Services & Public Affairs
lbang-jensen@nysba.org
518/487-5530