Area legal aid programs receive grants from LSC

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Officials with the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced recently that Lakeshore Legal Aid will receive a $100,400 Technology Initiative Grant (TIG) and the Michigan Advocacy Program will receive three grants totaling $399,045 to improve the organizations’ use of technology in assisting low-income individuals with civil legal needs.

Established in 2000, LSC’s TIG program supports legal aid organizations in developing and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance.

Lakeshore Legal Aid, with 14 locations across Southeastern Michigan, will use the grant to produce user-friendly animated instructional videos to help self-represented and retained clients. These videos will be published online and will be usable by other Michigan legal aid organizations.

Michigan Advocacy Program, based in Ypsilanti, will use a $259,500 grant to add three new features to the A2J Author document assembly program in order to increase resources for self-represented litigants. One new feature will allow users to complete a previously saved interview without repeating questions they have seen.

A second improvement will allow authors to designate an interview for “advanced end-users,” letting users see the entire tree of questions and answer questions in any order and the third new feature will make it easier for authors to duplicate questions and steps from one interview to another.

The organization will use an additional grant of $70,895 to create an automated chat feature to learn more about clients’ outcomes in advice and brief service cases. A third grant of $68,650 will allow Michigan Advocacy Program to update and migrate the Michigan Legal Help Program to Drupal 9 while improving usability and updating design, migrating a user guide to legal help,  ensuring full functionality and compliance, modifying the existing library of 50+ DIY tools to be easily e-Filed, rebuilding online intake or working to integrate the existing online intake module,  and translating the guide to legal help into Spanish.

The organizations are two of 24 recipients of 2020 TIG funding totaling nearly $4 million.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. LSC currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.


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