An Analysis of the Economic Impacts and Social Benefits of Assistance Provided by Alaska Legal Services Corporation

By: Kelly Thayer, Kathy Garwold, Resource for Great Programs. Published by: Alaska Legal Services Corporation. Published in January 2012.

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Alaska Legal Services Corporation (ALSC) provides high-quality free legal assistance in civil matters to low-income Alaskans. In an average year, ALSC enables approximately 6,300 low-income Alaskans to address critical legal issues directly affecting their families, homes, incomes, jobs and access to vital services such as health care and utilities. Emphasis is placed on serving Alaskans with the greatest social and economic need, people vulnerable because of domestic violence or disability, and people residing in rural areas with limited access to legal counsel.

By helping its clients, Alaska Legal Services Corporation helps all Alaskans. Each year, ALSC enables hundreds of Alaskans to obtain legal protection from domestic violence, allowing survivors to live more healthy and productive lives and reducing the impacts of child abuse and crime in communities across Alaska. ALSC helps clients to avoid eviction or foreclosure, not only preserving their homes, but also reducing the need for expensive emergency shelter. ALSC secures Social Security disability benefits for people who are unable to work, enabling those Alaskans to meet basic food and shelter needs and bringing millions of dollars into communities that would otherwise be lost to the state and local economies.

Through a strategic partnership with the Alaska Court System and key public-interest nonprofit organizations across the state, ALSC helps make other institutions more efficient and effective while seeking to uphold the rights of all Alaskans to equal access to justice.

In summary, the analysis found that ALSC is: Obtaining positive results for low-income clients in 86 percent of cases, while addressing critical legal issues directly affecting health, safety, and stability for almost 6,300 low-income Alaskans each year. ALSC aids some of Alaska’s most vulnerable residents: children, seniors, people with mental and physical disabilities, and victims of domestic violence.

Boosting the economy of communities across the state by $17.8 million annually. In addressing legal problems of clients, ALSC secures millions of dollars in direct federal benefits for eligible families, stimulates local spending, sustains private sector jobs, and spares state and local budgets the costs of responding to family crises triggered by domestic violence, foreclosure, eviction or lack of access to health care.

Yielding a high return on investment. Every dollar invested in Alaska Legal Services Corporation generates five dollars in economic benefit to ALSC’s clients, their communities, and the state.

Helping to narrow the “justice gap.” ALSC’s funding and services reduce the disparity between the legal needs that people face every day and the legal resources available to meet them. Every additional $100,000 of funding enables ALSC to directly benefit 182 more Alaskans and generates a half-million dollars in additional economic benefits.

Easing the burden on the Alaska Court System. ALSC enables the civil court system to operate more smoothly by offering guidance to self-represented litigants in navigating the court system and hosting community legal education clinics to inform Alaskans about their rights and how the legal process works. ALSC helps negotiate solutions in many cases that otherwise might result in litigation, and counsels applicants against bringing non-meritorious cases to court.

Categories: General/Unspecified Clients, Legal Aid Attorneys, Legal Aid Practitioners, Policymakers and Funders

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