Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=141353
Story Retrieval Date: 5/19/2013 3:50:17 AM CST
The study was released on September 30, just one day after the U.S. Census Bureau released statistics showing that more than 40,000 Illinoisans fell below the poverty line in 2008.
Legal Services Corporation funds a network of legal aid organizations that accounts for the majority of legal services to the poor, Barnett said. The corporation was assigned by Congress to administer the federally-funded civil legal assistance program based on the census, which is taken every 10 years.
“There are 1.5 million poor people in Chicago and suburban Cook County,” said Diana White, executive director of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. “We know we’re not even getting the tip of the iceberg when we’re getting between 27,000 and 30,000 calls each year.”
“Sometimes the phone lines are completely full by 10:30 a.m.,” White said. “The thing that I don’t think any of these studies capture is the people who don’t get through the phone system.”
“Some people are hanging up because they can’t wait any longer,” Reinshagen said.
“This year the state budget reduced funding by half,” Reinshagen said. “Whether it is politics or fiscal issues, the citizens in the state are hurting.”