AUGUSTA, Maine — Legal Services for the Elderly has been awarded a total of $300,000 over three years to support new initiatives.
“The economic downturn has been particularly hard on Maine’s elderly population,” Jay Martin, executive director of Legal Services for the Elderly, said in a recent press release announcing the grant. “At a time when our other sources of funding are shrinking and demand for our services is growing, we hope this federal grant will enable us to develop innovative, new low-cost ways to provide legal help to more of Maine’s elderly.”
The grant, funded through the federal Administration on Aging, will be used to:
• Conduct and publish a legal needs study of seniors.
• Establish a centralized leadership structure for elder rights and services.
• Enable law school students to manage simple consumer debt cases.
• Establish a volunteer panel of private attorneys to handle powers of attorney cases.
• Develop a social work intern position to provide case management support for a Senior Helpline and staff attorneys.
“Our goal with these funds,” Martin said, “is to create long-lasting systems to maximize our resources and protect the independence, health and financial security of Maine’s seniors.”
At the end of the three-year grant period, cost-effective examples of legal services delivery systems and strategies to increase overall service access for elders will be presented.
The target populations of the new programs are underserved seniors, according to the press release, with particular emphasis on low-income, minority, rural, homebound, Indian and limited-English speaking older individuals.
Legal Services for the Elderly, based in Augusta, provides free legal advice to people over age 60.
For information, call 800-750-5353.