Tag: Legal Services Alabama
Army veteran Ronald Whitson gives credit to Legal Services Alabama for keeping his family home in Birmingham. “I’ve been to the top, and I’ve been to the basement, and I know how important Legal Services is,” Whitson said.
For Mike Letson, Whitson’s LSA attorney, what he did for Whitson is more than a job, it’s a passion. “You feel you are on the right side of justice,” he said.
However, the program that Whitson and Letson praise has been controversial, the frequent target of partisan political battles since its start in the mid-1970s, with roots in the nation’s War on Poverty. Now the Alabama program’s federal parent, Legal Services Corporation, once again faces defunding, this time in President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget proposal.
Justifications for defunding the LSC include concern about the program’s lack of accountability measures and the value of transferring responsibility to the states to “encourage nonprofit organizations, businesses, law firms and religious institutions to develop new models for providing legal aid.”
LSC helps provide legal assistance to low-income people in civil matters, including housing, family law and veterans’ rights. The agency distributes its $385 million budget through grants to 133 offices nationwide, including Legal Services Alabama’s seven offices and one call center.
This is the third of BirminghamWatch’s Trump’s Budget Wish List series, detailing programs that President Donald Trump proposes cutting and the effect these choices could have in Alabama. Read More
Read the earlier stories: