Christian Legal Collaborative, Inc.
What is the NEED for services?
What is the NEED for services?
The need for legal services by low to modest income persons is often called the "access to justice gap."
Every source reports it slightly differently, but all information tells the same concerning tale. Recently, in January 2018, the Cleveland News ran a story explaining research United Way had done on the working poor in Ohio found that "2 out of 5 families in the Buckeye state are now dealing with some sort of financial hardship." In 2017, the Ohio Development Services Agency's Poverty report stated "an estimated 1,674,000 people in Ohio were poor – that was 14.8 percent of all persons for whom poverty status was determined." (Consistent with national average.) "An estimated 314,000, or 10.7 percent, of Ohio families were poor; the corresponding U.S. rate was 10.6 percent (family poverty rates are lower because family members share resources, and not all persons are in families)." At 21.1%, Lucas County, our county, was ninth highest in the state in terms of percentage of population in poverty! (According to the American Community Survey 2011-2015, U.S. Census.)
Of course, when we say Lucas county, and talk about the tremendous need there, where the poverty exceeds the national average, we are largely talking about Toledo. In the Toledo area, for the 2011-2015 years, the studies identified nearly 91,000 "poor" persons. Toledo is the home of the CLC and the focus of the CLC's services. It is important to realize that just like our colleagues at other legal aid organizations, CLC will never be able to serve the needs of all of these people.
According to the Ohio report issued February 2018, the percentage of people in poverty in Toledo between 2012-2016 was at 27.5%!
For 2016, Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. (LAWO) our area's only full-time local legal aid program, reported that over 17,000 requests for services were made to its Legal Aid Line for legal help from our colleagues at LAWO and its sister firm Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE). Obviously, those persons made so little that they felt they likely qualified for Legal Aid when they called. Keep in mind many people in the area would have never called at all because they knew they earned "too much" to qualify for Legal Aid, but yet they remained members of the working poor and couldn't afford legal services. Not all those who did qualify were able to be helped due to the sheer staggering number of requests coming in against the small amount of qualified legal help. Therefore, organizations like CLC are designed to help LAWO and our local bar associations and law colleges further reduce the large numbers of persons who seek, but do not receive legal assistance. We want to ensure that even more members of our community are provided access to justice.
Knowing the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) estimates 80% of the country's civil legal needs of eligible persons are unmet at any given time, this means all of our local organizations have our work cut out for us. Contact the CLC about sponsorship plans or go to our donate now page if you would like to help underwrite the cost of these services. If you are looking to make a sizeable donation, the CLC can talk to you about the unique plans we have designed to ensure the absolute best use of your money, while making sure the types of people you care most about in this community are taken care of and that we are always operating as transparently as possible. We are also glad to talk at any time about how we can collaborate with existing programs. We are all in this together!