Mass. lawmakers should increase funding for civil legal aid


Boston Globe editorial, in response to 2014 Boston Bar Association report, calls for increased funding for civil legal aid in Massachusetts.
Editorial (Massachusetts)

November 10, 2014
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Tags: Funding: Federal, Funding: IOLTA, Funding: State & Local


DETAILS

The best solution is for the Legislature to increase the appropriations for civil legal aid in the next budget session. The state now spends $15 million per year on legal aid programs; the task force recommends an additional $30 million increase over three years. This still wouldn’t meet demand — in 2006, when IOLTA payments where much higher than they are today, civil legal aid agencies still turned away around 50 percent of applicants. But it would begin to address the shortfall in the system. Besides, increasing the appropriation now can lead to real savings down the line for the Commonwealth. The task force found that every dollar spent on legal aid to keep people in their homes saves the state $2 in homelessness benefits. It’s far better to invest money now for legal aid than it is to bear the costs later.