Bradenton, FL – Gulfcoast Legal Services (GLS) recently received funding from Manatee Community Foundation through their COVID-19 Community Response Fund to address financial stability legal issues related to the pandemic. The grant will provide funding for vulnerable individuals in Manatee County to receive free civil legal aid to address a myriad of issues such as medical bills, illegal repossessions, creditor harassment, social security, and more.
Low-income households have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Apartment List’s recent report shows that rents are spiking nation-wide: “Since January of this year, the national median rent has increased by a staggering 16.4%. To put that in context, rent growth from January to September averaged just 3.4% in the pre-pandemic years from 2017-2019.”
JP Morgan Chase research shows that renters were more likely than mortgage holders to have lost their job due to COVID-19 and experienced large declines in labor income. With Florida already experiencing a lack of affordable housing, many low-income households may experience financial instability trying to come up with increased rental payments.
“The fight against COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted our most vulnerable community members. They are the least prepared to defend COVID-19’s financial blows, but having an attorney in their corner can make all the difference. Legal aid is a critical social service that can help vulnerable persons manage and overcome many of the financial obstacles resulting from the pandemic. We’re working to make sure justice is accessible to everyone in our community.” – Jeffrey Canup, Deputy Director of the Financial Stability Unit
Access to free civil legal aid can help clients gain additional income, increase benefits, fight fraud, and address illegal renter scams. It reduces inequalities and champions access to justice for all individuals, especially those who have been systemically disenfranchised.
For more information, or to see if you are eligible for services, visit the GLS website at www.gulfcoastlegal.org.
About Gulfcoast Legal Services
Gulfcoast Legal Services, Inc. (GLS) is a regional 501(c)3 non-profit organization providing free, comprehensive civil legal aid through counsel, advice, representation, advocacy, and education for vulnerable individuals and families in the greater Tampa Bay area. GLS is dedicated to serving vulnerable individuals living in poverty, low-wage workers, persons with disabilities, veterans, the homeless, victims of domestic violence or human trafficking, the LGBTQ+ community, and the elderly who otherwise may not have access to an attorney. For more information, visit: http://gulfcoastlegal.org.