Legal help shrinking for those in poverty

Tough budget cuts hurt Ohio legal aid providers, clients

Jona Ison
Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum (OH)
September 20, 2014

Organizations mentioned/involved: Southeastern Ohio Legal Services (SEOLS), Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE) (Ohio), Legal Aid of Western Ohio (LAWO)


Over the past five years, the state’s two largest legal aid societies have closed offices and cut staff — including attorneys — by half. In contrast, poverty continues to rise across Ohio, increasing from about 13 percent of Ohioans living in poverty in 2008 to 16 percent in 2012, according to the 2014 Ohio Poverty Report.
The bulk of Ohio is served by Southeastern Ohio Legal Services and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, which joined with Legal Aid of Western Ohio to maximize funding opportunities. Both reported being at half the staff they were in 2008 and have closed offices in Mansfield, Lancaster, Zanesville, and Marietta.