The state’s six nonprofit legal aid providers are struggling to meet the needs of Maine’s poor and elderly, as the demand for legal services continues to rise and funding for the agencies drops.
Over a two-month period this spring, the six agencies received about 6,400 requests for legal help, ranging from assistance in foreclosure proceedings to help with child custody cases.
They were able to fully meet the needs in only 1,500 of those cases – fewer than one in four. The other 4,900 received either limited help or no help at all, according to figures released Thursday.
“Having it in black and white confronts you with the reality that the folks who come to us for help already know,” said Nan Heald, executive director of Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Maine’s largest legal aid provider.