Below is an excerpt from a January 26 article, published by WBUR, about the EJC’s annual lobby day, Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid.
Calls to increase funding for legal aid services are being made on Beacon Hill. With more and more low-income residents being turned away from free legal services due to a lack of funding, the legal community worries justice may not be served.
There’s a paradox in Massachusetts’ legal system: as the economy has sputtered over the last four years, the amount of money available for civil legal aid has dropped sharply. At the same time, because of the economy, the demand for legal aid has spiked, with low-income citizens facing increased legal problems including eviction and foreclosure, to name a couple.
“This is a need. This is something that people who are underrepresented need,” said Remon Jourdan. He understands that need first-hand. The Randolph resident is a quadriplegic and was in danger last year of losing his personal care attendants after his doctor failed to complete the necessary paperwork so they could be paid. Jourdan turned to a lawyer from Greater Boston Legal Services.
“I’m not in a situation where I could just hire a lawyer. So, I thought I had no other options available to me, so, when I was given this opportunity, to have some type of help, I just jumped on it,” Jourdan said.
Nancy Lorenz is Jourdan’s attorney from Greater Boston Legal Services.
“We get people calling who have been trying on their own to resolve it for months, sometimes,” Lorenz said. “Like their MassHealth got shut off, they don’t know why. They call, they can’t get through on their phone, they’re not able to go to the doctor, they’re not able to fill their prescription, and then, they get to us, and we fix it.”