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Civil Legal Services A Core Government Service – Supporting Access to Justice & Economic Recovery; Reducing the Cost of Government Services Minnesota Legal Services Coalition

A Statewide Resource

An essential part of Minnesota’s justice system delivering service through seven regional programs and two dozen community and specialty practice programs.

Promoting Economic Security and Public Safety

Providing open, affordable and understandable services to all, regardless of income

• 40% increase in requests for services due to economic downturn. • Helps families facing job loss, personal finance and credit crisis, loss of housing or mortgage foreclosure, need for emergency assistance or threat of domestic violence. • A stable civil legal services system is an essential part of any plan to help Minnesotans recover from difficult economic times. • Studies show that availability of civil legal services is the only statistically significant factor in reducing local rates and resulting harm of domestic violence. • Studies show civil legal services helps reduce local crime & school truancy by reducing impact of homelessness, particularly for youth.

Direct Legal Assistance

Lowering the Cost of Government Services

Assuring Access to Justice

Representing Minnesota families in 52,900 cases Community Legal Education

Serving 70,000 Minnesotans through education and preventive law services

• Saves $4 million annually in tax-supported shelter costs by preventing homelessness in over 2,650 cases. • Reduces $5.1 million annually in court costs by reducing court time needed to resolve cases for low-income residents. • Reduces need for public assistance by securing $4 million annually in child support. • Reduces costs of state health services by securing $5 million annually in new federal disability benefits; producing cumulative impact of $275 million over ten years.

Changing Daily Lives

Reducing family violence, keeping kids in schools, securing safer and better housing, providing access to health care, achieving economic self-sufficiency, and protecting our most vulnerable citizens

Equal Justice for All

A Core Justice System Service; Essential Cost-saver • Civil legal services, along with the courts and public defenders are core elements of the justice system – a core state government service. • Reduces number of cases with unrepresented parties; saving court time. • Relieves burden by keeping over 3,000 cases annually from going to court. • Leverages and coordinates effective use of volunteer attorney time. • If civil legal services did not exist, the courts would have to create it to achieve efficiencies.

Minnesota Legal Services Coalition

State Budget Cuts – Untimely & Disproportionate

Judicare of Anoka County Anishinabe Legal Services Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota [LASNEM] Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota [LSNM] Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services [SMRLS] Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance [MMLA] Central Minnesota Legal Services [CMLS]

• Civil legal services is the only part of the justice system that has experienced such reductions that have caused state funding to drop below 2006 funding levels. • Service requests are increasing dramatically, while budget cuts have reduced staff by 10%. • 8.3% reduction of state funding in civil legal services in 2009 eliminated ability to serve approximately 3,000 families. • Each $100K reduction in state funding eliminates services for 300 Minnesotans. An additional 3% cut will eliminate services for 1,100; 5% means a cut for 1,800. • Adding to the impact of state budget cuts is an 83% reduction in IOLTA revenue as a result of historically low interest rates.

Civil Legal Services Talking Points  

Facts and

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