Multi-County Clients Council

Economic Stability

Prtiority Setting Initiatives-2007

From the Office of Multi-County Clients Council
416 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd
Louisville, Ky., 40202

The Legal Aid Society works to establish for our clients a level of stability, which will allow them to plan ahead with confidence. The cost of LAS client service is offset by savings to the community once the client becomes economically stable. Legal Aid advocates work with clients living in poverty to attain a platform of stability through self-sufficiency in four target areas by assisting clients with family law issues, consumer law issues, government benefits and housing issues. Our team of attorneys and paralegals specialize in poverty law. The history of successful client services fully documents our ability to assist clients obtain the economic stability needed to leave poverty.

Many recent events combine like a storm on the horizon to create an atmosphere of potential economic instability. The housing bubble has burst right on top of the working poor, creating a crisis in the sub-prime mortgage market. Our working poor are on the move – mass human migration partly as a result of Katrina, have caused an influx of new community members with needs to be met. Louisville’s “Million Dollar Blocks” are draining the society as a whole and we desperately need to find a way to reintegrate punished criminals into society. And so it goes, while Legal Aid helps clients deal with each new storm until economic stability can be found.

Each year the Legal Aid Society represents several thousand individuals whose incomes are at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines. Advocates in our office can help people find stable housing, appeal Section 8 housing decisions, defend foreclosures, and help to fight inaccuracies on credit reports so that clients can maintain or find stable housing. We routinely defend evictions and inform clients of landlord obligations.

Norton Healthcare, Louisville’s largest healthcare provider, conducted market research which was published in the 2005 Competitive City Report for the Greater Louisville Project. Norton’s research concluded that approximately 100,000 people in Metro Louisville live without health insurance, and that figure is increasing. Their unpaid health care costs are passed on to the public at large by the rising cost of health care coverage. Legal Aid aggressively works with our clients to determine if they have health care coverage and if not, to find some coverage for them. Whether it is Passport or the Kentucky Physician’s Care Plan, we find some way to insure our clients, helping them find economic stability, and helping create economic stability for our population as a whole.

In September 2006, George Soros, philanthropist and financier, visited Louisville and spoke at the Center for the Arts during the Kentucky Author Forum. He discussed his book, The Age of Fallibility, and participated in a question and answer discussion with the audience. During the post-filming (the interview was filmed by KET) Q & A discussion, Mr. Soros described the “Million Dollar Blocks” of Louisville. He noted that there are neighborhoods of Louisville which cost the tax payers over a million dollars a year to support, with residents in prison and on welfare. Legal Aid works diligently with convicted criminals returning to society and other residents of these communities to try to find some stable platform from which they can launch themselves out of these blocks. We expunge criminal records when appropriate; provide assistance to people in need of government benefits including Food Stamps and Social Security Benefits; represent clients at unemployment hearings; and defend clients in consumer complaints and occasionally assist with bankruptcy as a solution of last resort. Most importantly, we help people return to the workforce. Unemployed people find that their skills depreciate rapidly, so a speedy return to the working world is a target goal for clients, when possible.

As Beyond Merger noted, Metro Louisville has a relatively high number of families considered “working poor.” Metro Government has been aggressively pursuing means of securing a platform of stability for these members of our community through providing funding for Legal Aid and other programs in our area. There is much more the Legal Aid Society would like to provide clients in need.

We are the only source of free civil legal assistance for people in poverty in the Louisville Metro area. We desperately need funding to assist clients who need to modify child support orders due to temporary unemployment, disability or other crisis. We need to find support for returning veterans, to help make sure the disabled receive the benefits they deserve. We need more funding to fight foreclosures in this collapse of the sub-prime market. The community needs assistance challenging inappropriate wage garnishments, including the rising number of post-judgment garnishments of bank accounts containing only exempt Social Security funds. There is a growing population of non-English speakers in the Metro area, whose needs must be met. There is currently no special funding to assist this population and it is much needed.
With the limited amount of resources that is available to our organization, it is important that we “prioritize” the free civil legal services that we provide to the citizens of Metro Louisville. As part of our Federal requirements, we are required to survey the community on an annual basis in order to give the recipients of our services, and those who come in contact with the client community and/or provide services to the client community, on a day to day basis, an opportunity to be a part of our “priority setting initiatives.
Multi-County Clients Council,[MCCC] is a 26 year old non-profit, 501[c]3 Service Organization that provides services to the low income community and also insures that the type and kinds of free legal services that this Law Firm provides to the client community are services that are;
1. Appropriate
2. Revelant
3. And meets the needs of the client community

MCCC has assumed the responsibility of assuring that, in 2007, that all segments of Metro Louisville has an opportunity to participate in our priority setting requirements.
To determine if our services are “meeting the needs of the client community” is an important element of our “priority setting initiatives” In order to accomplished this goal, we are asking for your assistance in participating in our survey of the community and it’s civil legal needs. Enclosed you will find a copy of our 2007 Priority Setting Survey.
It’s important that we hear from ALL segments of the community so that the kinds and types of free civil legal services that we provide are revelant and appropriate to meet the needs of the community.
We are available to do presentations to any community or neighborhood associations, faith based organizations, Departments of Metro Government, Schools, Churches, etc., etc., in order to inform them of our initiative. A follow-up call in the near future will be made to your office to answer any questions that you may have. Again, we thank you for your participation in our annual survey and your service to the citizens of Metro Louisville.

Please return the completed survey to the below listed individual.

George E. Lee, Jr.
2nd Vice-Chairman
Board of Directors
Legal Aid Society

Executive Director
Multi-County Clients Council
416 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd
Suite 201
Louisville, Ky., 40202

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