By: Iowa Legal Aid. Published in January 2013
Iowa Legal Aid is a state wide non-profit that provides legal assistance to low-income Iowans. The organization closed 22,186 cases and supported a total of 53,478 people in 2011. Iowa Legal Aid also leverages a broader network of volunteer attorneys who donated 15,333 hours of work valued at a total of $2,141,620. The study focuses on three different types of economic benefits: direct benefits, indirect benefits, and the multiplier effect.
Iowa Legal Aid provided direct financial benefits by: Securing $3,421,362.36 in federal grants to support Iowa Legal Aid. Securing $1,854,311.47 in client federal benefits, such as Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, and Tax Benefits. The study did not include state funded benefits for clients as a direct benefit.
Iowa Legal Aid provided Iowa with indirect benefits by avoiding costs that would have been incurred without legal support. The study focused on costs incurred by domestic violence and homelessness, finding that Iowa Legal Aids assistance: In family law cases saved $18,882,699.00 in costs in 2011. In housing advocacy saved $3,252,000.000 in costs in 2011. Saved Iowa a total of $22,134,699.
The study found that the federal dollars introduced by Iowa Legal aid, when cycled through the local economy, made an impact of $28,729,291.29. This represented a return of $6.71 dollars for every dollar invested in Iowa Legal Aid by sources within Iowa.