Vol. XXXIV No. 2

50 Years After the “War on Poverty”: Evaluating the Justice Gap in the Post-Disaster Context

Abstract: The Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”), formed as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, was one of many initiatives aimed at providing low-income individuals with equal access to justice. Today, the increasing number of people living in poverty, coupled with decreased funding for legal services, has resulted in a significant justice gap in the provision of civil legal services. Poor people do not have the kind of access to legal services that was envisioned when the LSC was created. This justice gap is no more apparent than in the post-disaster context. For example, following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, legal services programs in Louisiana could not handle as much as ninety percent of the legal needs of low-income individuals. To more meaningfully provide legal services post-disaster, we must re-examine the entire system in which post-disaster legal services are provided.

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