Justice Gap: Other findings

Many states lack full range of services from non-LSC providers
In many states, there are few, if any, non-LSC providers to ensure that low-income persons have access to the full range of services that they need and which cannot be provided by LSC recipients because of restrictions or limited resources. A significant gap in the civil legal aid system in the United States, and particularly in the many states with limited non-LSC resources, is the lack of providers that can:

(1) serve prisoners, aliens, and others who cannot be represented by LSC funded providers;

(2) bring class actions and effectively; and

(3) engage in advocacy in all relevant forums, including legislative and administrative rule-making and policy-making forums. In large parts of the country such providers do not exist, or, if they exist, they are small, under-funded, and not able to meet the need that exists. This problem is, in part, a result of the restrictions imposed on LSC-funded entities by the 1996 appropriation riders.

Historically, LSC and some IOLTA funders have sought to ensure coordination and support for all legal providers and their partners, along with a central focus on statewide issues of importance to low-income persons, including representation before legislative and administrative bodies.

Statewide advocacy, training, and support are inadequate or non-existent
State advocacy, training, and support are insufficient in many states and totally inadequate or non-existent in many others.

The loss of over $10 million in state support funding as a result of the Congressional funding decision made in 1996 has taken a large toll on the state support structure that was previously in place. Many of the state support units and the regional training centers that were part of larger programs have been eliminated. In a number of states, there has been no state-level policy advocacy, no significant training of staff, no information sharing about new developments, no litigation support, and no effective coordination among providers. Several new entities have been created to carry on state level advocacy, particularly policy advocacy. However, virtually all of these new entities are severely under-funded and under-staffed. Several of the remaining freestanding state support programs have survived, but, with a few exceptions, they have not made up the loss of LSC funds.