PJC In The News

With revenue sources down, MLSC is bracing for cuts

Posted: 6:00 pm Sun, February 5, 2012 
By Steve Lash 
Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer
Excerpts from the article:
Late last month, Susan M. Erlichman told Maryland Legal Services’ existing grantees to submit requests for fiscal 2013 that reflect a 5 percent reduction from the current funding levels. The grantees were also warned the cuts might be deeper in fiscal 2014.
“We are hoping that we can keep the cuts between 5 and 10 percent,” Erlichman said. “If we can keep it to five that would be our desire but that really depends on what happens the next six months as far as income.”
Maryland Legal Services, hit with dwindling revenue sources, is spending $1.6 million of its reserves this year and next, Erlichman said. If the trend continues, it will run out of money in fiscal 2014, she said....
Unfilled gaps
Executive directors of groups receiving MLSC grants were sympathetic toward the agency’s financial plight and distressed about what the planned reduction means for their operations, as well as the bigger picture.
“I am concerned for the long-term stability of legal services programs in Maryland,” said John Nethercut, of the Baltimore-based Public Justice Center Inc. “The need is increasing at the same time funds are decreasing.”
Nethercut said the center, which provides a wide range of legal services for the poor, does not rely heavily on Maryland Legal Services for its funding, which comes primarily from foundations, individuals and law firms’ donations. But Nethercut deemed the downward revenue trend for the state’s major supplier of legal service funds “disturbing.”
“There aren’t any funding sources out there that are filling the gaps,” said Nethercut, an attorney. “Ultimately people have less access to justice.”


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