By: Todd Gabe. Published by: Maine Justice Action Group. Published in: November 2016
This report reviews the impacts of 2015 legal services in Maine with focus on one-to-one services and systemic advocacy. This report explores various outcomes associated with civil legal services, including those related to federal dollars flowing into Maine, non-federal monetary awards obtained, community cost savings, and higher incomes. The study also discusses cost savings through programs that reduce reliance on the state’s emergency/homeless shelters, the incidence of domestic violence, and spending on General Assistance to asylum seekers – three areas that create substantial economic returns. Finally, this report examines the systemic advocacy work of Maine’s civil legal aid providers, citing several efforts that produced positive results through legal influence on courts, legislation, and administrative agencies. This analysis shows that civil legal aid services yielded significant monetary benefits through cost reductions and the enhancement of individual and community outcomes.
- Legal aid providers secured nearly $4 million in benefits from federal programs and about $2.4 million in federal grants received by the organizations – incorporating the multiplier effects of economic activity, these efforts generated about $13.4 million & decreased unemployment by creating dozens of full- and part-time positions
- Services focused on access to education were associated with an increase of about $2.8 million in earnings over a 10-year period, demonstrating legal aid providers’ role in the elevation of income
- One-to-one civil legal aid assistance involving a variety of issues generated approximately $37 million in 2015
- Systemic advocacy efforts generated and maintained nearly $70 million by preventing cuts to vital resources like healthcare and public benefits, such as the work of two agencies that curtailed reductions to Medicare Savings Program (MSP), protecting the coverage of about 33,000 people