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Study Shows Lasting Impact of Legal Aid Services in Northeast Ohio

A photo of the entrance to the Summit County Courthouse.
Legal aid assists those who otherwise would not be able to afford the services of a lawyer.

A new study released today looks at the lasting effect of legal aid services in certain Northeast Ohio counties.

Steven McGarrity is the Executive Director of Community Legal Aid which covers eight counties including Summit and Portage. He said the study showed their ongoing impact, but also where they could improve.

McGarrity said one way is looking at the connected problems their clients face. For example, they may help a domestic violence victim get away from an abuser, but could ask more questions to help them further.

“But where, what is your housing situation like? Do you need help finding housing? Do you qualify for public housing? Do you need time to move out from your current rental that you were in with the abuser? I mean what is it that we can do to help you stabilize that part of your life?”

An infographic showing the connectedness between financial stability and health stability in different area
An infographic from the study shows the way help in one area can be connected to further stability in another area.

McGarrity said they’ve been tracking data and hearing anecdotes about how they’ve helped clients for years, but they wanted an unbiased look at real effects.

The study is a partnership between Community Legal Aid, the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and the Center for Community Solutions.

Find the full study here.