Equal Justice Works Awarded 2.9 Million in Grants

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To Increase Access to Justice in Underserved Populations

Equal Justice Works announces that it has received $2.9 million in grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to fund its AmeriCorps Legal Fellowship and Summer Corps programs for the 2010 - 2011 year. The grant reflects a $1 million increase in funding over the previous year, and will allow Equal Justice Works to place 80 AmeriCorps Legal Fellows and 700 Summer Corps student members in the field to provide legal services to low-income and underserved communities around the country.

The funding will allow Equal Justice Works to expand a program begun last year with funds received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). Thirty Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows will work on legal issues related specifically to the economic crisis, including mortgage foreclosure and fraudulent lending. In the first 6 months Recovery Act Fellows provided legal services to more than 3,000 clients and have kept 852 homes from going into foreclosure.

The funding will also allow Equal Justice Works to launch a new initiative focused on serving homeless veterans. Ten Fellows will take a holistic approach to assisting veterans and their families by helping to stabilize their living situations, securing veteran’s benefits, Supplemental Security Income, medical benefits and providing legal representation to overcome the barriers they face in securing basic needs.

The remaining forty Fellows will serve with nonprofit organizations around the country, on projects that include domestic violence, immigrants’ rights, indigent defense and Native American rights.

Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps is one of the most productive and highly regarded service programs in the country. In the 2008-2009 year, the Fellows and their volunteers served 26,019 clients at an average cost of $43 federal dollars per client. In addition, they generated or managed pro bono opportunities for 2,193 law students, 927 lawyers and 423 other volunteers.

The Equal Justice Works Summer Corps program, an AmeriCorps funded program, provides law students the opportunity to earn a $1,132 education award for dedicating their summer to working on a legal project at a nonprofit public interest organization. The CNCS grant will allow law students to help address issues such as access to health care, veterans' rights, homelessness and indigent defense.

Please visit equaljusticeworks.org for more information on the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps program and to see a list of Fellows and their projects.

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Equal Justice Works, a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization, was founded in 1986 by law students dedicated to working for equal justice on behalf of underserved communities and causes. Today, Equal Justice Works is the national leader in creating summer and postgraduate public interest opportunities for law students and lawyers as well as in urging more public interest programming at law schools. For more information, visit http://www.equaljusticeworks.org.

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Sally Carlson
Equal Justice Works
202.466.3686 ext. 102
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