COVID-19 Resources for Grantees and Civil Legal Aid Advocates

JGP American Rescue Plan Funding Matrix

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 offers multiple funding opportunities to help people with their pandemic-related civil justice problems. These funds represent a historic opportunity to fuel momentum on state-based civil access to justice efforts.

Read about them in JGP's ARP Funding Matrix (last updated July 15, 2021)

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Guidelines for Spending Funds

JGP compiled a list of examples of eligible expenses legal aid programs, courts, and other civil justice system partners have requested — or can consider requesting — when relief funds become available, based on Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) guidance. Read the document below for last-minute guidelines or considerations following the new stimulus bill.

READ THE GUIDELINES

Federal Funding Chart for Non-LSC CARES Act Appropriations and Guidelines

The Justice in Government Project (JGP) and NLADA created a chart that provides information about CARES Act appropriations, law, and agency guidance relevant to various non-LSC federal funding sources of civil legal aid.

Access the CARES Act federal funding chart.

For more information about state-administered federal funds that can support legal aid, including legal aid examples, helpful tips, and language regarding legal aid, go to the JGP Grants Matrix, which now contains information on COVID-19 information and guidance. 

Go to the JGP Grants Matrix. JGP also created a more courts-focused version of the Grants Matrix.

 

Justice in Government Project COVID-19 Publications and Webinars

  • The Justice in Government Project, supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts, published a case study about how New Hampshire and Kansas courts have tapped state-administered CARES Act authorized awards from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) and Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program (CESF) to help them with their pandemic response.
  • Karlee Naylon, Anna deDufour and Karen Lash published an article in the Summer 2020 issue of the MIE Journal titled, “Civil Legal Aid Funding in the Time of COVID-19”. The article explains how new and old sources of federal pass-through grants can address civil legal problems tied to the COVID-19 fallout and provides examples of states that have incorporated civil legal aid into COVID-related funding opportunities.
  • Karen Lash discussed the federal block/formula/open-ended reimbursement funding opportunities that are available to state and local courts navigating COVID-19 in NCSC's Tiny Chat video series. Watch Tiny Chat 3: Federal Pass-Through Funding and read the companion courts-focused Grants Matrix
  • The ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives and The Justice in Government Project co-hosted a webinar on Civil Legal Aid Funding in the Time of COVID-19. The panelists included: Shubi Deoras (ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives), Karen A. Lash (JGP), Jim Bamberger (Washington State Office of Civil Legal Aid), Patrick Cicero (Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network), and Stephanie Harris (Ohio State Legal Services Association).

Other COVID-19 Resources

The National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) maintains a COVID-19 Updates and Resources page, "a space for advocates to share resources and find policy developments affecting the delivery of legal services and access to justice." The resources and updates cover topics under leadership, management, and delivery; court access and virtual operations; housing, debt, and consumer issues; and more.

ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense provides the latest COVID-19 information, resources, and updates for legal aid funding, advocacy, and other organizations on its COVID-19 Resources page.

Voices for Civil Justice can help with media messaging. Utilizing the media can be an effective way to increase awareness of and propel legal aid pitches forward.

Here are some examples of effective legal aid op-eds:

  • PLAN Executive Director Patrick Cicero wrote an article for the Pennsylvania Capital-Star on the escalation of the financial and legal crisis COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.

  • Tzedek DC Executive Director Ariel Levinson-Waldman’s article in The DC Line on why the District should fully fund civil legal services to confront the coming tidal wave of debt collection cases.

  • Katie Dilks (Executive Director, Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation) and Michael Figgins (Executive Director, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma) co-authored an article for The Oklahoman about how legal aid is a front-line responder.

  • Mary Fairhurst (Former Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice) and Fred Rivera (Seattle Mariners General Counsel) warned how the coronavirus will overwhelm our civil legal aid system in a co-authored and well-timed article in the Seattle Times.

The Justice in Government Project Toolkit: Getting Results with Legal Aid

The Justice in Government Project Toolkit

The JGP Toolkit helps government policymakers, grant administrators, legal profession leaders, social service providers and advocates improve the quality and efficiency of government programs, increase access to justice, and achieve policy outcomes.

Go to the JGP Toolkit

MIE Management Innovation Excellence for Legal Aid

Civil Legal Aid Funding in the Time of COVID-19

Karlee Naylon, Anna deDufour and Karen Lash published an article in the Summer 2020 issue of the MIE Journal that explains why civil legal aid must be included in a holistic pandemic response. The article also provides examples of states using CARES Act funding and recommendations to advance legal aid alongside other supportive services.

Read

The Justice in Government Project

Learn more about the Justice in Government Project.

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Just Research

JGP and NLADA's Just Research Newsletter

Just Research presents topical research, useful data sources, legislative updates, and sources of federal funding that can support legal aid. Read previous issues of the newsletter here, or subscribe below.

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