Memphis Area Legal Services Feeling The Funding Pinch

(Memphis) Memphis Area Legal Services is the answer for thousands of people who are seeking justice, but who can’t afford their own attorney.

Memphis Area Legal Services’ Linda Warren Seely is the director of Pro Bono Projects and the Campaign for Equal Justice.

“We help protect them in wrongful evictions or in domestic violence situations or where a senior has been taken advantage of,” Seely says.

In the last two years, she says Memphis Area Legal Services lost more than $300,000 in state, federal and local funding.

Sequestration and lower interest rates on trust accounts have led to fewer  dollars.

Once busy offices are now empty and the staff has gone from 50 to 38.

“It means the number of people we are able to serve has just plummeted because we don’t have the staff,” said Seely.

So community leaders are coming up with a strategy for a community wide fundraising campaign.

“We never know who is gonna need these services, a friend, family member. neighbor. We don’t know. Just a little help from everyone will make a tremendous difference,” says Norma Lester, co-chair of the Community Outreach Committee.

An online auction is planned to support legal services and raise crucial dollars so it can continue to help those in need get justice.

“You do not have a right to an attorney in a civil matter. That means you have got to have a non-profit like Memphis Area Legal Services.” said Seely,

The online auction to support legal services will begin October 1st, but you can take a look at the items starting in September on their website, www.malsi.org.

For more information about Memphis Area Legal Services or to make donations to the fundraiser, call 901-523-8822.

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