WHO WE ARE
Ohio State Legal Services Association (OSLSA), founded in 1966 by the Ohio State Bar Association, is committed to searching out the patterns, causes of, and solutions to the repetitive and fundamental legal problems facing low income Ohioans and pursuing the legal recourse needed to address those problems through its three components:
OUR MISSION AND VISION
Our Mission is to provide civil legal aid and advocacy to combat unfairness and injustice and to help people rise out of poverty. Our vision is to help create a just and fair society where we all have the opportunity to thrive and have lives free of poverty.
DIRECT LEGAL AID
Southeastern Ohio Legal Services (SEOLS) and Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) offer direct, civil legal aid services to low-income Ohioans. SEOLS has six area offices serving 30 counties in Southeast Ohio. We have offices in Athens, Chillicothe, New Philadelphia, Newark, Portsmouth and Steubenville. LASC serves 6 counties in Central Ohio and has offices in Columbus and Marion. SEOLS and LASC close more than 20,000 cases annually, in state and federal administrative, trial and appellate proceedings, helping low-income families in Southeast and Central Ohio resolve a broad range of civil legal issues.
LEGAL ISSUES ADDRESSED:
• Public Benefits
• Family Law including Domestic Violence Survivors
• Consumer Rights and Protection
• Unemployment Compensation
• Public Education Issues including Expulsion
• Medical Issues and More
OUR CLIENTS ARE LOW INCOME:
• Single Parents
• Working Families
• People at risk of Homelessness
Though most of the families and individuals served by these programs must be low-income, certain projects may have expanded income limits. If you are seeking legal assistance or want more information about these organizations, please call 866-529-6446 or visit our legal aid websites: www.columbuslegalaid.org or www.seols.org.
The Ohio Poverty Law Center (OPLC)’s mission is to reduce poverty and increase justice by protecting and expanding the legal rights of Ohioans living, working, and raising their families in poverty.
While our sister legal aid organizations provide direct civil legal services to low-income Ohioans, the Ohio Poverty Law Center works to ensure these Ohioans are considered when policies are enacted. We work to educate decisionmakers on the challenges low-income Ohioans face and how policy changes can give them opportunities to improve their lives.
For more information on OPLC and their current work, please visit their website, www.ohiopovertylawcenter.org.
Although the Great Recession had a major impact on funding for legal services organizations nationwide, and OSLSA funding was reduced by approximately 50%, resulting in significants adjustments in staffing and in how we delivered services while focusing on maintaining the high quality legal representation and advocacy our clients deserve. We increased our efforts to diversify funding, tapped new sources of funding, developed strategic partnerships with other social service providers, and worked with the Board of Trustees to enhance and increase marketing efforts and engage major supporters.OSLSA has a long history of successful community partnerships with and grants from a variety of sources:
• More than $3,000,000 annually from the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation (OLAF).
• Since 2005, $3,675,000 in Violence Against Women and Victims of Crime funds from the U.S. Department of Justice to support our work with the Ohio Domestic Violence Network and local domestic violence shelters to provide holistic legal assistance to domestic violence victims to get safe and chart a path toward economic stability for themselves and their families.
• Funding from sources like The Gund Foundation and the HealthPath Foundation has supported healthcare advocacy and important education and outreach efforts to help senior citizens better understand their rights to quality care.
• For over 10 years, more than $200,000 annually in federal funding to help protect seniors from challenges to their independence, choice, and financial security.
• Collaboration with local housing providers to assist homeless and near homeless veterans and their families through funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
• $250,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to develop education and outreach initiatives to improve the public and housing providers’ understanding of fair housing.
• More than $150,000 from the Ohio State Bar Foundation to support innovative projects that use technology, and collaboration with other community service providers to help low-income families and individuals access the justice system.
• Support from local United Way offices and community foundations that help us provide much needed legal services for senior citizens, veterans and domestic violence survivors.
• More than 400 volunteer attorneys have given their time to help OSLSA provide critical legal aid services to economically disadvantaged Ohioans throughout our service area.