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Economic Impact of Civil Legal Aid
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The York County Bar Foundation commissioned The Resource for Great Programs to assess the economic and societal benefits derived by low-income residents from the legal services provided by the YCBF-funded legal services programs and other civil justice initiatives. The data in this report was collected and the analysis was performed between June and August of 2014. Below are the highlights of the findings.


In 2013, a total of $1.1 million[1]  invested in York County-based civil legal services from all sources yielded $9.9 million in income and savings – a nine-fold return.

Civil legal services programs enable access to the civil justice system for people in poverty who lack the means to hire a lawyer.   The benefits ripple outward:  For example, families stay in their homes, women and children escape domestic violence, and public programs and the court system work more efficiently.


Economic Impacts (2013):

$1.4 million in direct-dollar benefits for York County’s low-income families.[2] This includes child and spousal support, higher wages, public benefits (essentially for the elderly, people with disabilities, children), unemployment compensation for laid-off workers, and Medicare- and Medicaid-funded health care, providing income to pay for daily necessities such as food, rent, electricity, transportation, and access to medical care.

 

$1.6 million in economic multiplier effect, produced by dollars coming to York from outside the county each year – including child support and public benefit payments, as well as operating grants for the legal services programs themselves – that are spent and circulate in the local economy.

 

$0.3 million in tax revenues for state and local governments. 

 

$6.6 million in cost savings by reducing problems such as foreclosure, domestic violence, and detention of immigrants at York County Prison at public expense.

 

Additional benefits – Non-quantifiable results of YCBF-funded legal services programs’ work may be even more significant than the figures above suggest. Examples:

· Avoiding long-term impacts of eviction or foreclosure.

· Contributing to a more stable workforce for employers.

· Helping children stay in school without interruption by homelessness and/or  domestic abuse.

· Easing the strain on the court system through legal services’ assistance to clients and self-represented litigants on how to follow court procedures.

 

Thousands helped in 2013 by Foundation-funded programs:

Treatment Courts – Four specialized treatment or diversionary courts Drug, Adult Mental Health, Driving Under the Influence, and Veterans Treatment courts – helped hundreds of people stay out of the criminal justice system by addressing underlying causes of criminal behavior.

Youth and Truancy –177 youth were assisted in 2013 through the York County Truancy Prevention Initiative, a coalition founded by the Bar that has dramatically reduced York County’s high truancy rate with innovative solutions.

Residents – MidPenn Legal Services and Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center provided individualized legal assistance to 4,248 York County residents.

Self Help– Approximately 900 people received pro se assistance at the Self Help Center at the Judicial Center between October, when the Center was launched, and year end.

 

[1] MPLS and PIRC received $1.1 million from all sources in 2013. The York County Bar Foundation (YCBF) provided $130,000 (12 percent) of this total.  Other sources included statewide entities such as Pennsylvania IOLTA ($44,299) and the Pennsylvania Legal Services Network ($334,872); federal sources (LSC, Title III, totaling $550,499); and a variety of other sources.

2 Based on application of U.S. Department of Commerce “Regional Economic Input-Output Modeling System,” and on the assumption that clients immediately spend most of the benefits received. For further information, see this link > http://www.bea.gov/regional/rims/

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