Helping Legal Aid Help Itself

In a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, the head of Legal Services of Northern Virginia extolled the Senate's progress toward lifting the federal LSC restrictions.

July 15, 2009

To read the letter on the Washington Post's website, click here.

Letter to the editor:

The July 13 editorial
"A Fair Shake for Legal Aid" brought welcome attention to a
fundamental reality of this terrible recession: There are a lot more poor
people and a lot fewer resources to help them.

During Legal Services of Northern Virginia's recently concluded fiscal year,
we closed 1,828 cases more than our annual average for the past eight years --
a 44 percent increase.

In the nonprofit world, we are used to doing more with less. But in this
horrendous economic environment, we need help. The efforts of Sen. Barbara A.
Mikulski (D-Md.) and other supportive senators to lift various federal
restrictions on legal aid work are a vital first step.

If these restrictions are removed, legal aid programs can become more innovative,
versatile and effective.