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NYS Bar Association calls on Congress to help legal aid organizations

August 5, 2020 Rob Abruzzese
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The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would give $465 million to the Legal Services Corporation, and the president of the NYS Bar Association is hoping that the Senate follows suit.

NYSBA President Scott Karson explained that this budget is important to helping New Yorkers who are struggling financially get access to justice.

“I applaud this important action taken by the House of Representatives, which will benefit so many New Yorkers who are suffering from both legal and economic hardships during this pandemic,” said Karson.

The allotment approved by the House is $25 million more than last year’s budget. The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent not-for-profit corporation that was created by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans.

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It helps to fund 133 legal aid programs across the country, and seven of those groups are located within New York, including Legal Services NYC.

In April, U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, a Democrat from Westchester and chair of the House Appropriations Committee, led a coalition that secured $50 million for the LSC nationwide. The move, she said, helped struggling New Yorkers who fell victim to coronavirus-related scams, domestic abuse, wrongful evictions or who couldn’t afford legal assistance due to loss of income.

Karson thanked Lowey, who will soon retire, again on Monday, as well as Jose Serrano, a Democrat from the Bronx and chair of the Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations Subcommittee, for leading the effort in the House.

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