LASP Receives Pew Grant to Serve the Elderly

April 4th, 2012

From the Pew website: "The Pew Charitable Trusts announced today that it will provide $4,386,000 over the next three years to 31 Philadelphia-area organizations that serve the region’s elderly adults. The awards—provided through the Pew Fund for Health and Human Services—will help support individuals age 65 and older who are struggling to maintain their independence and well-being.

According to Frazierita Klasen, director of the Pew Fund, “The Philadelphia region is home to thousands of elderly who not only face economic hardship, but isolation, and health and mobility challenges that seriously compromise their quality of life. We are fortunate to have many strong organizations that are able to make a meaningful difference in the lives of these vulnerable seniors.”

The 31 agencies offer a range of services, helping low-income elderly to meet their basic needs;  offering counseling to alleviate the social isolation and depression that afflict so many of these individuals; delivering personal care and chore services; and providing respite for family members, such as adult day-care."

Among the organizations funded is Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania--we received a $126,000 3-year grant.

To read the full story, click here.

Have Fun and Support Legal Aid!

March 22nd, 2012

We have three FUNdraising events this spring and summer, all of which benefit the programs of Legal Aid.  More information can be found on the following websites:

Taste of West Chester (May 3, 2012):
Trial Run (June 23, 2012):
Race Judicata (July 18, 2012):

LASP Attorney Suzanne Noble to Receive 2012 PLAN Excellence Award

January 24th, 2012

This spring, retiring Delaware County Legal Aid attorney Suzanne Noble will be awarded a Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) 2012 Excellence Award.

Suzanne has worked in legal services for 37 years.  Her illustrious career includes not only legal assistance for low income families and victims of domestic violence, but also years spent working in early childhood education, medical social work, and pastoral counseling.  During her time at LASP, Suzanne also became a great teacher of law students enrolled in the Villanova Law School legal aid clinical program.

While Suzanne is ready to move on to the next phase of her life, she retains her claim to a life lived excellently--she is already exploring hospice work and tutoring youth in Chester City, and is happy to have more time for painting and reading.

Changes Coming to Food Stamp Eligibility in Pennsylvania

January 24th, 2012

Beginning May 1, applicants for food stamps in Pennsylvania will have to pass not only income but also asset eligibility limits. Anyone under 60 with more than $2,000 in savings and other assets will no longer be eligible. For people over 60, the limit will be $3,250. The rule change is expected to affect almost a half-million Philadelphians.

Advocates at Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania can assist when people are improperly turned down for SNAP benefits due to miscalculations or misapplication of rules. They are already preparing for an upsurge in these types of cases as this new program is rolled out.

For more information, read the following article from the January 12th Philadelphia Inquirer.

Census Study: New Poverty Measures Show Effectiveness of Government Benefits for Children

November 9th, 2011

The U.S. Census Bureau this week released the results of a new method of calculating poverty devised to factor in the effects of food stamps and other government programs on the well-being of families.  With this new method, poverty for children under the age of 18 is 18% as compared with 22.5% under the old method.

"It looks like the programs are targeted well at families with children, bringing many up out of poverty," said Kathleen Short, the Census Bureau economist who wrote the report.  At the same time, the supplemental poverty measure revealed that older adults may be worse off than previously thought.  The new calculations placed the poverty rate among older adults at 16% instead of the 9% rate found in the old measures.  The reason: the new standard looks at the impact of out of pocket medical costs. 

For Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, this research reinforces what we already know: our work helping families to obtain or preserve food stamps, housing supplements, utility assistance and other government benefits can have life changing results for families, in many cases lifting them out of the most crushing levels of poverty.

Applications for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Now Available

November 2nd, 2011

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, helps low-income families pay their heating bills. LIHEAP is a grant that offers assistance in the form of a cash grant, sent directly to the utility company, or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat.  More information on this valuable program is available from the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network.

Poverty Increasing in Legal Aid Counties

September 27th, 2011

Recently released census figures confirmed what Legal Aid has observed:  poverty is increasing in the suburbs.  According to the report, known as the 2010 American Community Survey Single Year Estimate, since 2007 the average poverty rate in suburban Philadelphia grew from 6 percent to 6.7 percent in 2011. Three of Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s counties saw increases:  Bucks County’s poverty rate increased from 5.2% to 6.2%, Chester County’s rate went from 5.4% to 6.2%, Montgomery County’s rate went from 5.3% to 5.5%. Although Delaware County’s poverty rate declined slightly from 9.8% to 9.7%, it still has the highest rate in the entire Southeastern Pennsylvania suburban region.
For LASP, this means more people calling our helpline for problems with debt, accessing government benefits, loss of housing and other serious matters requiring the help of an attorney.
For a copy of the census report, go to

Don't Borrow Trouble Attorney Helps Out at 6ABC

June 30th, 2011

Yesterday Kesha James, LASP's Don't Borrow Trouble attorney, participated in an online chat regarding mortgage foreclosure issues on 6ABC's Action News at 4:00.  You can find a link to the chat transcript here

Read more by clicking the post title above.

Legal Services for Poor Face Growing Need and Less Funding

May 17th, 2011

by Marian Wang, ProPublica, May 16, 2011

"Providers of civil legal services to the poor are having to furlough their staff, triage their clients, and turn away more people in need as a result of the congressional budget compromise reached last month.  Legal services may include defending low-income individuals dealing with predatory lending, domestic violence, landlord-tenant disputes or foreclosure.  As we've noted, legal experts have particularly urged Congress to adequately fund legal services in order to alleviate the crisis of flawed foreclosures. 

But far from seeing any budget increases, the umbrella nonprofit group Legal Services Corporation had its funding cut by $15.8 million - about 4 percent of its most recent budget - as a result of last month's budget compromise.  It was spared a $75 million cut first proposed by House Republicans."

To read the entire article, visit the ProPublica website,


Delco LASP Senior Advocate Jack Riggitano Honored on Law Day

April 27th, 2011

Every Thursday for 15 years Jack Riggitano has volunteered as a Senior Advocate for Legal Aid at the Chester Senior Center.  On Friday April 29 at the Delaware County Court House, he will be awarded the Themis Award of the Delaware County Bar Association for his commitment to our clients and the legal system.  As a Senior Advocate, he has received extensive training through Lgal Aid on how to identify legal problems in order to make referrals of older adults to our offices.  Each week he assists with completing Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications for senior citizens, interviewing older adults with various other problems such as Medicare and Medicaid enrollment, debt collection, government benefits, housing problems, wills power of attorneys and living wills.

Mr. Riggitano worked for the Federal Government for 33 years at the Philadelphia Naval Base as an Industrial Specialist until he retired.  Asked to comment on the award, he said "Remember, a thank you from the heart is like putting a coin in your purse.  They both enrich your heart."

The Senior Advocate Program is made possible through funding from the Delaware County Office of Services for the Aging.  Senior Advocates are active in Senior Centers throughout Delaware County.  For more information, or to volunteer, contact Karen Tyler, program coordinator at 610-874-8421.


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