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Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) recently led a bipartisan letter in support of continued funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in the upcoming fiscal year. The Congressman currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Congressional Civil Legal Services Caucus and has championed several efforts to expand access to legal representation for low-income families. The letter was sent to Chairman Matt Cartwright and Ranking Member Robert Aderholt of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.

“Our legal system continues to fall short of providing equal access to effective legal representation to every American. Funding for legal aid promotes individual empowerment and self-reliance for those who need it most,” said Emmer. 

“Assisting Americans with the tools and resources they need to navigate the civil court system ensures everyone can enjoy the rights and protections afforded by the Constitution. Targeted investment in civil legal aid is a vital way to ensure Americans can traverse a complex judicial system and secure equal justice for all," Emmer concluded.

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) assists a wide range of individuals in need: including, those affected by substance use disorder, natural disasters, and domestic violence, military families and veterans, families with children, homeowners and renters, the disabled, the elderly, and many others across the country. LSC distributes more than 90% of its total funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs that provide legal assistance to low-income individuals and families in every congressional district across the country.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 53.8 million Americans, or 16.7% of the U.S. population, qualified for legal assistance from LSC-funded programs. Based on LSC's Justice Gap Report, 86% of civil legal problems of low-income Americans receive no assistance. The "justice gap" is the difference between the civil legal needs of low-income Americans and the resources available to meet those needs. The economic toll of COVID-19 has only exacerbated the justice gap. 

Read Congressman Emmer’s letter here.