Alliance Formed to Improve Legal Services for Low-income Ohioans
August 06, 2018|
By Mary Day|
The state’s legal aid organizations are pleased to announce the formation of the Alliance of Ohio Legal Aids. The Alliance of Ohio Legal Aids (Alliance) is established to improve access to and the quality of legal services for low-income individuals and groups and to improve the legal aid service delivery system in Ohio.
Kevin Mulder, Executive Director of Legal Aid of Western Ohio, was elected as the Alliance’s first Chair. Other officers include Colleen Cotter, Executive Director of Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, as Vice-Chair and Kate McGarvey, Director of Legal Aid Society of Columbus, as Secretary/Treasurer.
“More than ever it is important for legal aid organizations to collaborate to ensure Ohio’s disadvantaged citizens have access to the civil legal system,” said Mulder. “The Alliance formalizes the positive working relationship the legal aid organizations have had for decades and gives us the ability to speak as one voice.”
Nearly 15 percent of Ohioans are living in poverty and lack the resources to pay for a lawyer. Yet these Ohioans are more likely to need legal assistance for problems that have been intensified by living in poverty, such as housing insecurity, access to health care, food stamps or disability assistance, protection from domestic violence, education inequity, and employment and income instability.
“The Alliance will assist its members in sharing resources and coordinating programs, fundraising, and work with the private bar to maximize services to low-income Ohioans needing legal services,” said Cotter.
Other Alliance members include Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc., Community Legal Aid Services, Inc., Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc., Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Legal Aid Society of Columbus, Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, LLC, Ohio Poverty Law Center, Ohio State Legal Services Association, Pro Seniors, Inc., Southeastern Ohio Legal Services.
Legal aid organizations are nonprofit law offices that provide legal assistance to low-income people on civil legal matters. Civil legal issues are between individuals and companies, lenders, landlords, creditors or the local, state or federal government. Ohioans can find information and referral to legal aid organizations at www.ohiolegalhelp.org.