Legal Aid of North Carolina will celebrate its 20th anniversary on July 1. From one office in Durham, North Carolina, in 2002, to more than 25 offices around the state today, Legal Aid of North Carolina has grown to become the only organization that can remove civil legal barriers to economic opportunity for every vulnerable North Carolinian, said a press release.
Currently the organization includes more than 500 staff and volunteer attorneys helping more than 70,000 people yearly, including 30,000 children. Legal Aid of North Carolina represents victims of abuse, families on the brink of homelessness and others in crisis to get the justice they deserve, resulting in access to housing, education, healthcare and employment, safety from abuse and other life-changing benefits.
Though the organization’s impact is great, the demand for Legal Aid of North Carolina’s services surpasses its capacity to help. In honor of the organization’s two decades of service, Legal Aid of North Carolina is encouraging every North Carolina resident who can to donate, volunteer or get involved. Learn how to make a positive impact at www.legalaidnc.org.
“Our talented team and volunteers give compassion to people in their most dire time of need,” said Executive Director George Hausen, who has led the agency since its start in 2002. “With a holistic approach to every client’s legal situation, Legal Aid of North Carolina provides a diverse array of services. We fight to remove the barriers our clients face and uphold their access to opportunity.”
Legal Aid of North Carolina has a proven history of standing in the gap to ensure the state’s most vulnerable people have access to legal representation. In 1994 when federal funding for legal services was slashed, the North Central Legal Assistance Program cut staff and closed its doors. Four independent legal aid programs across the state merged into what would become Legal Aid of North Carolina in 2002, headquartered in Durham.
Over the years, the organization has formed partnerships with other legal services groups for the benefit of its clients. Today, Legal Aid of North Carolina is the driving, unifying force behind projects like the NC Navigator Consortium, a network of agencies whose health insurance navigators connect millions with affordable health coverage.
In 2021, Legal Aid of North Carolina mounted the www.StopTheCycleNC.org domestic violence campaign, and in 2020, the organization and its partners sued the state of North Carolina to successfully reopen the NC Extra Credit Grant program to give the families in poverty the chance to apply for a $335 check to defray the cost of at-home learning during pandemic school closures.
“On behalf of the board of directors, thanks to everyone who has played a role in Legal Aid of North Carolina’s development and growth, especially during the pandemic when so many more needed help,” said Gonzalo Frias, managing counsel of Wells Fargo’s legal department and chair of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s board of directors. “Our goal is to increase the support and financial resources the organization needs to meet demand for the next 20 years and beyond.”
Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove legal barriers to economic opportunity. Learn more at www.legalaidnc.org or follow it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram LinkedIn and YouTube.