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The Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC) is the statewide membership organization for almost 100 legal nonprofits. LAAC advocates for more funding and better laws for legal nonprofits, facilitates communication and coordination between organizations, trains in core substantive areas, analyzes best practices, and works to increase access to justice for all Californians.
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LAAC Stands Up for Legal Aid
With the increased attention on legal aid, due to proposed budget cuts eliminating federal funding for legal services, LAAC and our members have been in the news a lot recently.
As the unified voice for legal aid in California, we have been vocal in our support of the Legal Services Corporation - which 11 of our members directly benefit from, maintaining funding for legal services nationally, and increasing funding for legal aid in California.
Recent Press Clips
Homeless Action Center’s Dedicated Attorneys Are Truly Passionate About Public Benefits Advocacy for the Homeless Members of Our CommunityAugust 16, 2017 | Homeless Action Center (HAC) | LAAC Member Story
In these troubling times of ever-increasing homelessness in the Bay Area, and fearful uncertainty about the federal safety net, there is a group of dedicated attorneys serving the neediest of Alameda County to obtain the benefits that they are entitled to but often lack. (Mentions: Homeless Action Center (HAC) )
Advocates for California motorists who face mounting fees for traffic tickets took another step to ease the burden, a settlement that seeks to offer options to paying fines that many people can’t afford. (Mentions: Western Center on Law & Poverty (WCLP) , Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC) , Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR) , Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal) )
National Immigration Law Center is among several immigrants' rights organizations filing a lawsuit against the State Department on behalf of dozens of immigrants from predominantly-Muslim "banned" countries. (Mentions: National Immigration Law Center (NILC) )
On Tuesday, June 27th Governor Jerry Brown signed the California State Budget, including increased funding for legal aid. California lawmakers passed the state’s budget on June 15th following months of hearings and negotiations. That budget, now carrying the Governor’s final approval, contains more than $20 million dollars in new funding for civil legal aid through […]
Southern California activists and attorneys begin to strategize after Supreme Court affirms parts of Trump’s travel banJune 26, 2017 | Los Angeles Times (LA Times) | News Story
After a brief period of hibernation, President Trump’s travel ban has been re-implemented after the Supreme Court came down with a decision, allowing parts of the ban to take effect. Advocates across the nation have taken up posts in all the major airports where the travel ban is expected to severely impact Muslim communities. Since the January […] (Mentions: National Immigration Law Center (NILC) , Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) )
Recent Op-Ed on the Importance of Legal Aid
Written by State Senator Bob Wieckowski and LAAC Executive Driector Salena Copeland.
Soaring rent increases in the Bay Area the past few years have left many families scrambling to find a place they can afford. Jason Tarricone, directing attorney of the Housing Program for Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, knows first-hand how skyrocketing rents can push families to the brink of homelessness.
The Silicon Valley nonprofit helps thousands of people each year avoid homelessness, gain legal status as immigrants, and increase their incomes. Last year, Community Legal Services helped over 150 families stay in their homes. And in late 2015, they negotiated an agreement that allowed 70 families to remain in a Redwood City apartment complex for an extra nine months, giving them the time and relocation assistance they needed to find new homes. Tarricone says that without the free legal help organizations like his provide, more Californians would be living on the streets. Yet the lack of funding for vital legal aid programs severely limits the amount of assistance these organizations can offer, even at a time when demand for their services is growing. Although some people might believe they have the right to an attorney, there is no such right in civil cases.
This is why we join with legal service organizations throughout California in calling on the state to provide $30 million to reach the national average in civil legal aid funding. President Trump’s budget threatens to eliminate all federal aid provided through the Legal Services Corporation. That leaves the state’s Equal Access Fund to help bridge this growing gap. Established in 1999, the fund receives just $10 million a year, a number that has only been boosted once – a $5 million increase that many of us fought hard for in this year’s state budget.
A 2013 report to the Legislature found that there are nearly 10,000 eligible Californians for every one legal aid attorney. Without additional state funding, the number of people who lack representation in our legal system will only increase.
Printed from the San Jose Mercury News. Read the full article.