As the budget crisis forces deep cuts in state spending, and as economic pressures are driving more and more people from their jobs and their homes, the need could never be greater for a fully funded Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC). That point was strongly made when over 800 lawyers from around Massachusetts filled the State House to lobby their state representatives and senators during the annual Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid.
The message was a simple one: Keep the funding for MLAC the same as last year, a total of $11,070.424. The budget allocation funds programs for general legal support, battered women’s legal assistance, disability benefits advocacy, and Medicare advocacy.
These investments more than pay for themselves. The programs help unlock Federal funding for individuals entitled to disability and Medicare benefits. They help battered women when they are facing their deepest crises. And they help people with the full range of everyday problems, the greatest of which is staying in their apartments or house when they are facing improper eviction or foreclosure.
In a word, the programs work. They are the proverbial “ounce of prevention” which save many millions more if people are unable to get medical care, benefits, or proper housing.