Legal Cutbacks for the Poor
The Republican Congress has significantly decreased the amount of funding for Legal Aid Programs designed to help the poor. Congress has reduced the budgets of sixteen national organizations, which provide legal advice to lawyers in neighborhood offices, by twenty-four percent this year alone. Due to budget cuts, the National Housing Law Project in Oakland, California had to lay off four of its eight attorneys this past summer and the Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law, which has handled a dozen welfare related Supreme Court Cases, is closing its branch offices in D.C. Further lay-offs have occurred at the National Consumer Law Center in Boston, the National Center for Youth Law and Legal Services of Greater Miami. The House also voted to prohibit legal aid lawyers from lobbying or participating in litigation in any way concerning the reform of state or federal welfare systems. These measures come at a time when radical welfare changes increase poor persons' need for legal advocates.
Media Resources: New York Times News Service, 9/4/95