Trump budget would cut vital legal services

Gutting civil legal aid would devastate low-income families and vulnerable people in Maine and throughout the U.S. Especially hard hit would be rural areas, where legal help is scarce.
Letter to Editor (Maine, NATIONAL)

William Robitzek
May 6, 2017

Tags: Funding: Federal

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services Corporation (LSC), Pine Tree Legal Assistance (PTLA) (Maine), Maine Justice Foundation


Pine Tree provides free legal aid to help low-income and vulnerable veterans, elders, children and families. When these Mainers are involved in civil legal cases, the law does not require that they must have a court-appointed lawyer. LSC provides federal funds so that when their livelihood, health, and families are on the line, they have representation and a fair shot.

Civil legal aid makes fiscal sense and is a good investment. Everyone benefits when someone remains housed. Housing stabilizes families and helps them remain self-sufficient, ultimately saving taxpayers’ money. The public costs of sheltering families that become homeless are significant, as are the increased costs of providing public assistance, transitional housing and health care for families in crisis. Helping survivors of domestic violence reduces shelter costs. Early legal interventions prevent more serious problems down the road.