Thanks to the groundbreaking funding provided by the Office of Court Administration (OCA) and the LSAF funds provided by the state legislature, New York has been the national leader in funding civil legal services. However, the demand for legal services remains daunting. In 2019, 58 % of civil legal needs of low to moderate income New Yorkers continue to go unmet each year, according to reports from OCA. In addition, older reports from OCA indicate that in pro se civil cases where New Yorkers represented themselves without an attorney, 70% of the cases dealt with core issues such as family, consumer credit and housing.
These issues touch on the essentials of life: the roof over one’s head and the health, safety and economic security of one’s family. Below are the most common civil legal issue areas confronting low and moderate income New Yorkers:
- Economic Supports, Education and Employment
- Housing and Homelessness Prevention
- Health Care
- Consumer Issues
- Domestic Violence
Studies have shown that civil legal aid is a fundamental force in building family and community stability as well as providing cost effective services, leveraging an estimated $10 for every $1 invested.
Read the testimony here: Public Protection Budget Testimony 2020 – Empire Justice Center