Citing the continuing need created by the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Legal Services Corp. is asking Congress for an appropriation of $1.26 billion for fiscal year 2023.
The agency, which funds legal aid organizations around the country including Indiana Legal Services, says the record-level funding is needed to meet the anticipated demand for civil legal services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding proposal tops the $1.02 billion the LSC asked for in its 2022 budget request.
“Legal aid providers are in desperate need of additional resources to address the growing needs of low-income Americans facing unemployment claims, evictions, incidents of domestic violence and other serious legal problems,” Ron Flagg, LSC president, said in a press release. “All around the country, our grantees work tirelessly to assist people for whom these situations may otherwise be insurmountable.”
The fiscal year 2023 budget request seeks to increase LSC’s basic field grants by 70% to enable legal aid organizations to respond to the rising need linked to the pandemic.
LSC is expecting demand for civil legal assistance will continue to spike next year because of the ongoing disproportionate impact that COVID-19 is having on low-income communities. The national organization said its grantees “desperately need” additional resources to assist individuals and families facing evictions, foreclosures, domestic violence and problems with unemployment payments as well as consumer scams.