The Legal Services Corporation, or LSC, will award Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas $296,224 through its Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant.
Designed to encourage and expand pro bono efforts that serve low-income clients, the grant will help Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas expand its Driver’s License Restoration Project with pro bono volunteers. Those attorneys will work with clients who are unable to obtain a valid driver’s license because of nonpayment of fines, fees, or surcharges. These issues perpetuate a downward cycle of escalating debt and job loss for low-income Texas, a press release said.
During the 86th Legislature, HB 2048 was passed to repeal the state’s Driver Responsibility Program, commonly known as the “surcharge” program, effective September 1. Though the end of that program means surcharges will be waived for Texas drivers, they will still be responsible for any other suspensions, fines, or fees on their driving record. Information on the bill, including full text of the enrolled version, can be found on the Texas Legislature website.
“We are grateful to Congress for establishing and increasing support for the Pro Bono Innovation Fund,” LSC President Jim Sandman said in a press release. “These grants stimulate more participation by pro bono volunteers. They enhance public-private partnerships, leverage the federal investment in civil legal aid, and allow our grantees to reach more people in need of civil legal assistance.”
State Rep. Michael Burgess applauded the award. “Congratulations to Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, which recently received a grant of nearly $300,000 from the Legal Services Corporation,” he said in a press release. “This grant will help Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas provide additional counsel to Texans in need of legal services on a pro bono basis. I am grateful for LSC’s generosity and am encouraged that this funding will make a positive difference for North Texans in the 26th Congressional District and beyond.”
For more information about Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, go to internet.lanwt.org.