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Legal Aid to close Smithfield, Henderson offices

Posted August 9, 2011

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— Legal Aid of North Carolina, which provides legal services to low-income people statewide, will close its offices in Smithfield and Henderson because of budget cuts, officials said.

The nonprofit organization lost more than $2 million in state and federal funding this year, forcing it to close an office in Boone as well and reduce operations at offices in Rocky Mount, Winston-Salem and Sylva, officials said.

"We've been holding the line on hiring and salaries already for two years while trying to keep up with the increasing need during the economic downturn," Celeste Harris, a Winston-Salem attorney and chairwoman of Legal Aid's board of directors, said in a statement.

The Smithfield and Henderson offices cover Johnston, Harnett, Sampson and Vance counties, officials said, noting that Legal Aid attorneys help thousands of families each year in these counties.

The offices have stopped taking new cases and will close by the end of September, officials said.

"We know private lawyers in these communities will step up and volunteer," Tom Berkau, a Smithfield attorney and a Legal Aid board member, said in a statement. "Legal Aid lawyers, however, expertly handle hundreds of these cases and provide services that our volunteers will not be able to replace."

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  • Stringbean Aug 10, 2011

    "Yall really don't realize who uses legal aid the most.".... ohhh yes we do ... its that 51 % that dont pay fed taxes .

  • fffaircloth Aug 9, 2011

    Well it seems like the little people get SCREWED AGAIN !!! Jusr remember the profits the BIG OIL CORP made.
    Wonder who will think about this in 6 months OR CARE???

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Aug 9, 2011

    Yall really don't realize who uses legal aid the most.

  • Rebelyell55 Aug 9, 2011

    This is only the beginning of funds being taken away from the poor. Once this money is dried up, then they start with the middle class. But that will be money (taxes), you certainly don't think the big corp./big banks are going to pay for your schools, land fills,parks and other perks. There will be a tax increase in Local, State and Fed. to the middle class in 2012. Don't say you won't warn.

  • ddm76 Aug 9, 2011

    "You're right NCGUY, why should we help the less fortunate? Particularly those who are being taken advantage of and need legal help. Screw them. Its their own fault they aren't making enough money to rent a home from someone thats not a slumlord. They should go get a job. I'm sure its their fault the economy is bottoming out, I'm sure they caused the financial meltdown, etc. Screw them, keep the private jet deduction and tax credits for oil companies." ---- thinkb4youspeak

    AMEN!!

  • bngexpress Aug 9, 2011

    good ! we have entirely too many govt subsidized programs now , especially programs that cater to the criminal immigrant population, they are draining the systems that have been established from citizens of the united states.

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Aug 9, 2011

    'Legal Aid of North Carolina is committed to equal justice for all people. We help children, families, individuals, and migrant workers solve problems that affect their basic needs, such as housing, safety from domestic violence or abuse, healthcare, substinence income, enviromental safety and consumer loan problems'

    In other words, we give away free money at Joe Taxpayer's expense. How many of these migrant workers are illegal???

    Their purpose is to get people food stamps, housing, welfare, and Medicaid at the taxpayer's expense.

  • thinkb4youspeak Aug 9, 2011

    You're right NCGUY, why should we help the less fortunate? Particularly those who are being taken advantage of and need legal help. Screw them. Its their own fault they aren't making enough money to rent a home from someone thats not a slumlord. They should go get a job. I'm sure its their fault the economy is bottoming out, I'm sure they caused the financial meltdown, etc. Screw them, keep the private jet deduction and tax credits for oil companies.

  • Rebelyell55 Aug 9, 2011

    Everyone knew the cuts would be painful. Just not the powerful Big Corp. and our elected leaders. They won't even notice.

  • ncguy Aug 9, 2011

    It seems evrything the governemnt does is to help low income families.

    Modern day Robin hood huh? how's that working for you?