Statement by Lonnie A. Powers, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) on the final Fiscal Year 2017 Budget of the Commonwealth
BOSTON, July 12, 2016 — “We are deeply grateful to Governor Baker and the legislature for providing $18 million in funding for civil legal aid in the final Fiscal Year 2017 Budget of the Commonwealth. This $1 million increase over last year’s funding for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation will help more low-income residents facing homelessness, domestic violence, access to health care, and other serious legal issues get the assistance they urgently need. These programs help our Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents, people at or below 125% of the federal poverty level, or $30,375 a year for a family of four. In the midst of a difficult budget year, the Governor and the legislature have shown leadership by investing in a program that strengthens the social and economic well-being of the Commonwealth. For every dollar invested in civil legal aid, between $2 and $5 is returned to the state and its residents in cost-savings and federal benefits. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Governor and the legislature to address the widespread unmet need for civil legal aid throughout the Commonwealth. “
“We also thank our supporters in the private bar, including our partners at the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Boston Bar Association, as well as county bar associations around the state; our social services endorsers; and the many advocates across the state who spoke up in support of this vital increase.”
The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation was established by the state legislature in 1983 to ensure that low-income people with critical, non-criminal legal problems would have access to legal information, advice and representation. MLAC is the largest funding source for civil legal aid programs in Massachusetts.