March 16, 2017
Contact: Kate Coscarelli
Senior Managing Director Communications
NEW BRUNSWICK - The New Jersey State Bar Association condemns and calls on the state’s congressional representatives to reject proposals to eliminate federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation, which provides essential support for civil legal assistance, including for New Jersey’s poorest residents.
“The federal budget proposal to end legal services for the poor is an attack on the people who need it the most. Legal Services Corporation provides critical legal services to nearly 2 million Americans who live at or below the poverty line, including residents in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties,” said NJSBA President Thomas H. Prol. “Hundreds of thousands of New Jersey’s poorest residents are confronted each year with legal problems that can disrupt their lives and put them in significant jeopardy, from family court matters to housing concerns. The reality is that even with current levels of funding, Legal Services of New Jersey can only help a fraction of those people who need assistance.”
Legal Services of New Jersey is the largest statewide network in New Jersey offering free legal help and is the state's primary recipient of LSC funding. The elimination of LSC funding will place additional stress on an already overwhelmed state social services infrastructure and the court system, making it even harder for the most vulnerable in society to get help.
“It is of paramount importance that our government not only support, but increase the current funding levels for LSC. Any reduction, particularly at this time when state and local funding sources are shrinking, would be a disastrous blow to low-income people of New Jersey who have nowhere else to turn to protect their most basic civil rights and needs. I call on everyone who supports a free, fair and independent court system to take action to ensure the most vulnerable are protected from this unfair attack,” said Prol.