Defunding Legal Services Corp. Would Have ‘Dramatic’ Impact in Pa.

The proposal to zero out funding for Legal Services Corp. would be felt deeply by Pennsylvania's poorest regions, where civil legal aid providers rely most heavily on federal dollars and are already struggling to meet the population's needs.

News Story (Pennsylvania)

Zack Needles, Hank Grezlak
Legal Intelligencer (PA)
March 20, 2017

Tags: Funding: Federal

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services Corporation (LSC)


The disappearance of those grants would have a “dramatic” impact in the state, according to Samuel W. Milkes, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Inc. (PLAN), which is composed of 10 regional programs—including the eight LSC-funded providers—and six specialized legal aid programs.

Milkes said poor Pennsylvanians in rural areas that lack public transportation would be hit the hardest by a reduction in legal aid services because the small, lightly staffed offices in those communities would almost certainly be forced to shut down.

“There would definitely have to be offices closed as a result of this, especially in rural areas where they’re just not going to be able to support maintaining an office,” Milkes said, noting that PLAN’s programs are already able to meet only a fraction of the need for civil legal services in Pennsylvania. “In other words, we are either turning a lot of people away or people have learned it’s just not worth trying to get particular kinds of services.”