Tough Times for Legal Aid Everywhere, But Especially in Hawaii

The cut comes at a time when legal aid groups in Hawaii and throughout the nation are already facing more demand for their services than they can meet.

Blog Post (Hawaii, NATIONAL)

Nancy Young
Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ)
July 10, 2017

Tags: Funding: Federal, Funding: State & Local

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Society of Hawai’i (LASH), Legal Services Corporation (LSC)


That may be so in Hawaii, but the prospects for federal legal aid funding—while not cut to zero yet—are also grim. As NPQ reported in April, the Trump administration is looking to eliminate funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), which, according to its website, provides funding to 133 legal aid programs throughout the country. (For example, the aforementioned Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), receives a quarter of its funding from the LSC.)

According to the LSC’s 2017 Justice Gap report, in the last year, 71 percent of low-income households reported at least one civil legal problem, including domestic violence, problems with veterans benefits, and housing conditions. For 86 percent of the legal problems low-income Americans reported, they received inadequate or no legal help. The LSC estimates that in 2017, low-income Americans will seek help from legal aid groups for approximately 1.7 million legal problems, but due to a lack of resources, the organizations will be able to provide only limited help or no help at all for more than half of those problems.