Legislators could whack legal aid for the needy

Out of sight of most of us, tens of thousands of low-income North Carolinians receive desperately needed free legal help every year.

Editorial (North Carolina)

Charlotte Observer
June 20, 2017

Tags: Funding: State & Local

Organizations mentioned/involved: Pisgah Legal Services (PLS) (North Carolina), Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy (formerly Legal Services of Southern Piedmont) (North Carolina), Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC)


It’s hard to understand the origin or the reasoning because legislators have hosted no public discussion of the idea. Moore’s spokesman did not respond to an email from the Observer editorial board seeking comment on Tuesday.

It’s a cut of only 5-6 percent of their total budgets, but legal-aid offices had already seen this pool of money slashed from $6 million to under $2 million in recent years. This finishes the job, and it comes just as President Donald Trump proposes cutting federal money to these same agencies – which would be an even bigger blow.

“The work we do is core basic human-needs work,” Schorr told the Observer editorial board. “Physical safety, economic stability, we keep people from losing all their income, losing their housing, being subject to domestic violence. … There’s no other source of legal assistance for low-income people in civil matters.”