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LSC gets $135M boost in US House bill

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, providing $550 million for the Legal Services Corp.

This is an increase of $135 million over LSC’s current funding and the largest appropriation proposal LSC has ever received in absolute dollars.

The bill follows the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2019 passed in June that designated $15 million for LSC to fund recovery efforts related to hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods and other natural disasters that occurred from 2017 to 2019. The money supports legal services providers helping disaster survivors access insurance benefits and fight wrongful evictions and consumer scams.

More than 90% of the appropriation is allocated for Basic Field grants to fund the direct delivery of legal assistance. LSC distributes most of its funding to 132 independent legal aid organizations serving every county in every state and the territories. The legal aid offices provide services to low-income Americans.

More than 60% of all cases closed by LSC grantees involve family law matters, such as child custody, child support and adoptions and housing matters, such as evictions and foreclosures. In 2017, more than 58 million low-income Americans were eligible for LSC-funded legal assistance.

The Senate has not scheduled consideration of any fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills.

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