Columbia, South Carolina (my hometown) is featured today in More Need, Less Help by Amy Goldstein at the Washington Post.
The subject is that as South Carolina’s ranking rises in unemployment and the financial crisis spirals out of control, the need for assistance rises.
South Carolinians are out-of-work.
South Carolinians are hungry.
South Carolinians cannot pay rent or mortgages.
South Carolinians are going without medication.
South Carolinians are worried about their children and their futures.
Food pantries like Harvest Hope are working as hard as they can to fill orders. But their supplies are running short.
Other charities, like the United Way of South Carolina, United Way of the Midlands, the Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Family Service Center, and the Salvation Army, are working round the clock to assist, but their donations are dwindling as well.
Timothy Ervolina, president of the United Way Association of South Carolina, worries that the web of philanthropic and nonprofit groups may not be able to fulfill the governor’s [Sanford] expectations. Ervolina has watched fundraising fade at United Ways across the state, even as calls pour in to their crisis hotlines.
. . .
South Carolina Legal Services, a statewide network that gives free legal help, in July received the biggest grant handed out by the South Carolina Bar Foundation but in January was asked to return 15 percent of it.
The time to act is now. If you can afford to make a donation, please do so.
Your donation may offer someone else hope. Hope to carry on. Hope for their children. Hope to live.
Thanks Washington Post for sharing the story of Columbia, SC!
New York City?
Sitting in my office, overlooking Finlay Park in Columbia, South Carolina may seem far removed from New York City but people living in poverty NYC and SC share similar legal problems. Consider the recent New York Times Editorial that advocates for stable funding for Legal Services.
People need decent representation when doing battle with bad landlords and employers, callous health maintenance organizations and government agencies, disgruntled business partners and grasping relatives. And in an era of predatory home loans, the legal needs of distressed homeowners are urgent and steadily rising.
Advocates for the poor argue, persuasively, that outlays for civil legal services are budgetary pennies that save many dollars. A foreclosure prevented is an eviction avoided, a family kept from homelessness — and a considerable burden lifted from the government’s social-service safety net. With legal help, poor people can avoid litigation, easing the load on judges and courtrooms. They can get food stamps, leveraging federal dollars in an underused program. If they avoid the poorhouse they will have, by definition, more money to spend, increasing sales tax revenues and benefiting local businesses.
The same arguments can be made here, in South Carolina.
Isn’t it time we acted accordingly?