AKRON – Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people found themselves needing the services of Community Legal Aid for the first time, says Steven McGarrity, executive director.
Cares Act programs and the CDC eviction moratorium provided safety nets for vulnerable Ohioans. But they also created a need for legal experts who could help them navigate those same programs, he says.
“Having an advocate step in to resolve issues so payments could be released made all the difference in their world,” McGarrity says.
One initiative that assisted residents was the Clarence Darrow Court Clinic, which was launched at the beginning of 2020 in partnership with the Trumbull County Bar Association and Trumbull County courts. The clinic relies on private attorneys to volunteer their time to work with those facing housing or financial lawsuits.
In addition to adjusting advocacy priorities, the firm also found new ways to safely deliver legal help. While advocates still meet with clients and attend hearings, all of the firm’s legal clinics are offered online or by phone.