November 9, 2009
A recent Boston Globe editorial highlights the financial logic and moral imperative of legal aid.
Legal aid programs in Massachusetts are taking a significant hit. Greater Boston Legal Services, for example, has taken a 15 percent cut to its staff. The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, the primary financial supporter of local civil legal aid programs around the state, cut its funding for services by 54 percent over the past year. All this while there has been an increase in the demand for assistance in handling housing, health care and child custody issues within the Commonwealth.
What might be overlooked about legal aid is the cost benefit. Legal aid reduces the burden on state social service organizations by helping secure unemployment benefits for some employees as well securing federal funds for unemployment.
Rather than fund legal aid to its levels from years before, Massachusetts is making the decision of underfunding it. It appears this is another loss for lower income individuals and families facing tougher times now than ever before.