HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The Mississippi Center for Legal Services (MCLS) recently received it’s annual grant from the Mississippi Bar Foundation through its Interest on Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) Program.
The IOLTA program was established as a source of funding to provide legal aid to low income clients and to provide law related public education programs.
According to Executive Director of Administration for the MCLS Sam Buchanan, this year’s grant was $59,050, an amount that has drastically decreased since it’s 2008 $1 million grant.
“The grants are declining because the interest rates are declining.”
Buchanan says the steady decrease in funding has affected the center’s ability to provide their free services to people in need. More clients are getting turned away.
“Because we operate with limited staff and with limited funding, we have to prioritize our services. Every two people who come for legal service, at least one has to be declined because we don’t have the staff or the resources.”
Buchanan stated the center is still very grateful for the grant, no matter how much it is.
Since it’s central office in Hattiesburg opened in 1978, MCLS has provided 43 counties with free counseling and representation, services Buchanan says are increasingly needed.
MCLS will host a fundraiser dinner August 14th at the Jackson Convention Center. For information, visit their website.