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Pine Tree Legal Assistance, a nonprofit that represents low-income Mainers, has received a $372,223 grant that will allow it to expand and provide more services.
The grant was awarded by Legal Services Corp., a national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.
Pine Tree is one of 17 groups nationwide getting a total of $5 million to expand and improve pro bono legal services for low-income individuals. The Portland-based organization plans to use its grant to recruit pro bono attorneys to improve housing stability for southern Maine residents in need.
The project will recruit volunteers from large and medium-sized law firms in Portland to provide full legal representation to tenants at risk of losing their housing through eviction.
The work builds on a 2019 grant Pine Tree received from the national organization's Pro Bono Innovation Fund. Funds target projects that be replicated and scaled and that focus on critical, unmet needs.
“LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund supports grantees’ tireless efforts to expand access to legal services," said the organization's president, Ron Flagg. “Pro bono volunteers are an invaluable resource for the millions of low-income Americans in need of legal aid.”
U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine 1st District, welcomed the funding support for Pine Tree Legal Services.
"As demand outpaces supply, ensuring that Maine families can remain in their homes is of the utmost importance. Thank you to Pine Tree Legal Assistance for supporting Maine people and expanding access to legal assistance for those in need," King said.
Calling Pine Tree Legal Assistance a lifeline for low-income Mainers, Pingree said, "This significant grant will help Pine Tree Legal Assistance continue their important work to uphold the rights of all Mainers, regardless of their background or financial means.”
Legal Services Corp., established by Congress in 1974, provides funding to 131 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.
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