Nearly 50 million Americans are still living below the poverty level and another 10 million have incomes that are less than 25 % above poverty. As a result, roughly one in five U.S. citizens is eligible for legal aid. All current studies show that we are only able to meet the legal needs of 20% of these individuals.
More than two-thirds of civil legal aid clients are women, and most of them mothers. Because of this, the legal problems of people living in poverty can have serious implications for children.
The need of legal aid among the poor is overwhelming. According to a study by the American Bar Association, at least 40% of low to moderate-income households experience a legal problem each year.
We serve thirteen counties: Hardee, Highlands, Polk, Charlotte, Desoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Indian River, St. Lucie and Palm Beach. Thousands of low income residences in our service area are in need of our services.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, on any single night during 2016, 549,928 people experienced homelessness in the United States. According to the National Homeless Information Project, 33, 466 persons were homeless in the state of Florida. Forty-eight percent of our clients sought our help to prevent homelessness. Without our help, potentially 9,397 more residents could have been homeless in our service areas in the year of 2016.
A small sample of our results based on needs is that our services have helped over 7,000 children, 2000 elderly and nearly 400 Veterans in 2016. FRLS was able to prevent $1,000,000.00 in housing foreclosures and secured $2,100,000.00 in consumer related debt reduction. .
There is a prevalent need for assistance with housing, family law, consumer debt and collections in Florida – primarily affecting children, families, seniors, migrants and veterans in Florida. We remain committed to ensuring “justice for all” even as the need for our services increases every year.