Eau Claire hearing on access to justice is today

This afternoon, the second in a series of regional access to justice hearings will take place in Eau Claire. We’re looking forward to a varied mix of speakers from the area, including legal services groups, concerned members of the public, judges and volunteer attorneys. The justice gap is very real for thousands of Wisconsin residents who cannot obtain the legal help they need to protect their housing, family, safety, employment or access to health care. …

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Onward: From Green Bay to Eau Claire

Community members and advocates from throughout the Green Bay and Fox Valley region gathered in Green Bay this week to share their experiences in responding to the overwhelming civil legal needs facing low-income area residents in the area. They were attending the first regional access to justice hearing convened by the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission. Our next hearing will be held in Eau Claire on July 31.

Speakers described struggling as professionals, as parents and as members of the community when they see when people have no financial resources and no where to turn for help to deal with domestic violence, foreclosure, evictions, child custody, unemployment, special education, disability benefits and more.

The Green Bay hearing panel heard from attorneys who volunteer their time to help at free legal clinics, staff from legal services organizations, parents and social workers.

Representatives from Disability Rights Wisconsin, Legal Action of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Judicare described how demand for their help has surged. At the same time, they detailed the staff and service reductions that followed the cuts in funding for the legal services they provide. 

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Green Bay access to justice hearing update

As we make our final preparations for today’s regional hearing in Green Bay, it’s worth noting this sobering news item from Wisconsin Public Radio: According to the Department of Children and Families, there were 32 percent more domestic violence advocacy contacts last year than in 2010. While the raw number of victims staying in domestic abuse shelters has been flat, those that use the shelters stayed 12 percent longer. Shannon Barry is the executive director …

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