Legal Aid Society of Columbus


Organized in 1954. Nonprofit organization receiving funding from the Legal Services Corporation and locally from the United Way of Central Ohio.
Organization website

Primary geographic focus: Ohio
Organization type(s): Provider

The lone attorney and secretary who staffed the Legal Aid Society at the beginning could hardly have imagined the challenges and demands of serving the complex community that Columbus and central Ohio have become today. Over the last 50 years, the population of the area that the agency serves has grown from 500,000 to 1.3 million, and the diversity of the area has changed dramatically.

Serving a growing non-English speaking population is a new challenge. The Society serves a financially eligible population of 183,000. It would need 36.6 attorneys to meet the “minimum access” goal established by the Legal Services Corporation 25 years ago. One of the most difficult and painful tasks the staff performs daily is turning away low-income people with serious legal problems.



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News Story

Ohio fees for debt collection questioned

Ben Sutherly
Columbus Dispatch
September 27, 2015
Consumers are being charged excessive fees — fees intended to cover the debt-collection costs of government hired special counsel advocates say.

News Story

Eldery tenants evicted from Near East Side apartments without explanation

Encarnacion Pyle
Columbus Dispatch
January 22, 2016
The owner of the Bryden House apartmentson Columbus' Near East Side is ending the leases of a number of elderly, low-income tenants, leaving many wondering why.

News Story

Advocates worry seniors being pushed out of affordable housing

Mark Ferenchik
Columbus Dispatch
March 5, 2016
Some say it's not fair for the housing authority or other building owners to push out seniors to attract residents who can afford to pay more.

News Story

Ohio sued over student-loan collection fees

Mary Mogan Edwards
Columbus Dispatch
August 16, 2016
Bill collectors and law firms working for the Ohio attorney general’s office are tacking unreasonably high charges onto the amounts they try to collect from people with long-overdue student loans, according to lawsuits filed by the Legal Aid Society of Columbus.

News Story

Veterans issues: Stand Down offers legal aid that can help vets land jobs, homes

Holly Zachariah
Columbus Dispatch
October 15, 2016
It all helps eliminate barriers to jobs and housing.

News Story

Program to help tenants navigate eviction process

Rita Price
Columbus Dispatch
January 13, 2017
A new tenant-advocacy program soon will operate inside Franklin County Municipal Court, where a high number of filings make for the state's busiest eviction docket.

News Story

At busy eviction court, people look for second chance

Rita Price
Columbus Dispatch
March 20, 2017
Court officials, legal-aid attorneys and mediators encourage landlords and tenants to talk, to strive for compromise.

Feature

Franklin County has the highest eviction rate in Ohio. Why? And what can be done about it?

Joel Oliphint
Columbus Alive
March 14, 2018
Franklin County has the highest eviction rate in Ohio. Why? And what can be done about it?

Audio , News Story

Rent-To-Own, Then Left Without A Home

Adora Namigadde
WOSU (Columbus, OH)
April 9, 2018
Columbus city officials and fair housing advocates are concerned about what some are calling the successor to the subprime mortgage crisis.

Audio , News Story

Franklin County Struggles To Overcome High Number Of Evictions

Nick Evans
WOSU (Columbus, OH)
April 11, 2018
No one wants to end up here. Evictions are expensive for landlords, and they miss out on rent in the meantime. Tenants have to move on short notice, and a past eviction can make it hard to find a new place to stay.

News Story

Ohio Seeks To Impose New Medicaid Work Requirements, Tempting Lawsuits

Alice Ollstein
Talking Points Memo
May 1, 2018
If the waiver is approved, Ohioans unable to find work would have to get placed with an organization in their county and work without pay to earn the value of their health care benefits.

Op-Ed

State budget should support legal aid

Jack D’Aurora
Columbus Dispatch
May 27, 2018
Remarkably, the state of Ohio contributes nothing to legal aid. The Ohio Supreme Court’s Task Force recommended in 2015 that the Ohio General Assembly fund the cost of the 120 legal-aid attorneys and support staff who were laid off because of declining funds.

News Story

How Columbus lawyers have joined the effort to stem evictions

Tristan Navera
Columbus Business First
September 10, 2018
Every day in Central Ohio, an average of 75 people are told they face eviction. So far, the area is on pace to match last year's 18,000 filings.

Op-Ed

Survivors rely on legal aid to break cycle of abuse

Molly Crabtree
Columbus Dispatch
October 25, 2018
All of us have a role to play in ensuring that survivors such as Lucy get legal help to escape their abusers so that tragic domestic violence deaths can be prevented.

Audio , News Story

Columbus Tenant Advocacy Pilot Shows Strong Results

Nick Evans
WOSU (Columbus, OH)
November 26, 2018
A new program assisting Columbus residents facing evictions has released a report on its first six months of work.

News Story

Tenant Advocacy Project helps Franklin County residents stay in their homes, according to new study

Megan Henry
Columbus Dispatch
November 27, 2018
The study found that tenants who received help from the Tenant Advocacy Project were able to stay in their home 240 percent more often than those who were not helped by the organization.

News Story

Study: Local Program Helping Renters Avoid Eviction

Jim Letizia
WCBE (Columbus)
November 27, 2018
The Legal Aid Society of Columbus says its Tenant Advocacy Project created last year helped people stay in their homes 240 percent more often than those who were not assited by the program.

News Story

Columbus pushes back on retaliatory evictions with stronger protections for tenants

Tristan Navera
Columbus Business First
December 12, 2018
City Council voted Monday night to amend city codes to better address so-called "retaliatory" evictions – when a landlord files an eviction notice against a tenant as retribution for complaints about the condition of their housing.

News Story

Columbus Boosts Eviction Protections For Renters

Associated Press (AP)
January 7, 2019
The updated law, which was approved earlier this month, takes effect in January.

News Story

Wages Seized. Bank Accounts Frozen. The Poor Are Getting Poorer as Creditors Pursue Debts

Alana Semuels
Time
May 1, 2020
“This is crippling people right now,” says Melissa Linville, an attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus. “Some courts are carrying on as if there is no pandemic.”

News Story , Newsletter

How Legal Aid Lawyers Have Been Preparing for More Evictions

Jared Brey
NextCity.org
September 1, 2020

News Story

Inside Franklin County’s evictions court, as ‘disaster’ looms

Tristan Navera
Columbus Business First
December 11, 2020
Every morning, Robert Southers takes up a spot at a lectern-turned-information desk at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, now home to evictions court. It's usually 30 minutes or so before he's overwhelmed.

News Story

Group Tries to Stop State From Terminating Medicaid Benefits

Catherine Candisky
Columbus Dispatch
March 31, 2015
The Legal Aid Society of Columbus files a federal suit to stop the state from terminating Medicaid benefits.

News Story

Hospital aid policies can’t rule out medical bills

Ben Sutherly
Columbus Dispatch
January 25, 2015
When nonprofit hospitals contract with for-profit physician practices to provide inpatient services, needy patients may not get financial help. (Featuring Legal Aid Society of Columbus)

Feature , Video

Ohio Woman Kicked Off Welfare for Not Reporting She Was In a Coma

Seth Freed Wessler
NBC News
December 5, 2014
The Legal Aid Society of Columbus successfully helped a woman appeal her loss of benefits for not attending class while in a coma, but many others were pushed off.



This page last modified: Mon, May 4, 2015 -- 5:37 pm ET