For Immediate Release
Contact: Alyson Robbins
LSSCM Receives Funding to Support Civil Legal Services
JACKSON, MI (November 26, 2018) – Legal Services of South Central Michigan (LSSCM) is the recent recipient of a grant from the Samuel Higby & Margaret H. Camp Fund, a component fund of the Jackson Community Foundation. LSSCM is thrilled to receive this award and will use the funds to support its legal advocacy work throughout the Jackson community.
LSSCM provides free civil legal help for those unable to afford an attorney. Civil legal aid serves individuals and families with issues like: wrongful foreclosures, fraudulent debt collection, escaping domestic violence, eviction/homelessness prevention, accessing health care/disability benefits, and other civil court cases. Unlike in criminal cases, attorneys aren’t provided for low-income parties in civil cases. As a result, legal aid programs such as LSSCM are often the only legal assistance available for low-income individuals and families.
With an estimated 35% of Jackson County residents living at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and qualifying for LSSCM’s services, the Jackson community has an overwhelming need for accessible legal assistance. Without adequate legal counsel, legal issues often go unrecognized, though the resolution of these issues is key to building strong foundations for low-income families working to rise out of poverty. Legal concerns can have cascading negative impacts, as a fraudulent debt collection case may limit a struggling family’s ability to pay rent, resulting in an eviction that then limits employability and access to affordable housing in the future. In many of these cases, there’s also no level playing field to begin with, as opposing parties often have the income to hire attorneys whereas those unable to afford representation must respond to legal filings and go to court hearings alone.
For many low-income individuals and families, LSSCM funding and the work it supports has the capacity to change lives. “The need for quality, affordable legal help isn’t something that’s going away any time soon,” says LSSCM-Jackson’s Managing Attorney, Mike Derby. “When people think of assisting those in poverty they don’t usually think of lawyers, but it’s really incredible what an attorney can do to help break the cycle of homelessness, domestic violence, or unemployment.” Funding from the Jackson Community Foundation and the Samuel Higby & Margaret H. Camp Fund will help LSSCM continue its work promoting financial independence and self-sufficiency for Jackson individuals and families through increased access to the legal system.
“Grants like this from Jackson Community Foundation really make a meaningful difference in our clients’ lives,” adds Alyson Robbins, LSSCM’s Manager of Outreach and Development. “More funding means more lawyers are available to help. There are always more people walking through our doors who need and deserve high-quality legal assistance regardless of their ability to pay.” LSSCM is grateful for this recent award and would like to thank all its funders and donors as LSSCM staff continue working to ensure that equal justice is a right, not a privilege.
Legal Services of South Central Michigan provides free civil legal assistance to low-income persons with an emphasis on homelessness prevention, domestic violence prevention, and assistance in accessing health care, food, and needs-based income programs. LSSCM has several locations across the state, with an office in Jackson serving Jackson and Hillsdale Counties. LSSCM is a division of the Michigan Advocacy Program.
The Jackson Community Foundation is dedicated to their Mission: We connect people and resources to causes that strengthen and build our community. For Jackson. For good. For ever. To learn more about the Foundation or how to establish an endowment in your name, go to www.jacksoncf.org.