Free legal services are in imminent danger of facing devastating cuts. We are deeply concerned about the potential $8.4 billion cut in the New York State Aid to Localities budget which could gut civil legal services across NYS that help individuals and families obtain vital resources, such as healthcare, critical benefits, safe housing, stable income, and freedom from abuse.
These cuts could affect the communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic – those with disabilities, families experiencing poverty, domestic violence survivors, and seniors already struggling with isolation, neglect, and abuse. These are survivors like Maria, who was sheltering at home due to pandemic. Her abuser knew where she lived, pretended to be a FedEx delivery person, and gained access to her apartment. He attacked her viciously in front of her toddler and two other young children.
Maria reached out to NYLAG and we immediately helped her file for an Order of Protection, ensuring that her abuser stays away from her and her children. If our budget is cut, could we have answered Maria’s desperate plea for help?
Here is what you can do to help stop these devastating cuts to free legal services.
If we raise our voices together we can stop these cuts from happening. But we need your help. It’s simple. Would you consider emailing Governor Cuomo and/or your local representative? Let them know why free legal services must be preserved. Cuts are expected to be announced within days. So you must act now!
There is some sample language below.
I am a supporter of New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), an organization that provides free legal services to those who need it most–domestic violence survivors, those experiencing poverty, veterans, seniors, people with disabilities and so many others in need. I am worried about the potential $8.4 billion cuts in the Aid to Localities budget which could gut civil legal services across NYS that help these individuals and families obtain vital resources, such as healthcare, safe housing, stable income, and freedom from abuse.
These communities are hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and I have seen first-hand how valuable free legal services act as a lifeline during a crisis, ensuring access to justice for those who need it most. New York State cannot make cuts on the backs of our most vulnerable. Please preserve this funding.