N.J. budget cuts legal assistance to the poor

    The budget plan reduces funding for Legal Services of New Jersey by 33 percent.

    State budget cuts may mean less legal assistance for New Jersey’s poor.

    The budget plan reduces funding for Legal Services of New Jersey by 33 percent.

    Legal Services President Melville Miller says the funding reduction means they’ll have to cut their staff and turn away about 11,000 people seeking assistance, many of them trying to avoid foreclosures and evictions.

    “Every one of the people that we serve has a meritorious defense,” says Miller. “So we’re looking at a huge number of people essentially unnecessarily forced into homelessness because they didn’t have legal representation.”

    Miller is hoping ways can be found to preserve funding for legal aid, saying that may be less expensive than the costs of providing shelter for those who end up being forced out of their homes.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.