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Rep. Russo announces $12 million to support underserved populations

February 9, 2023
C. Allison Russo News

COLUMBUS – State Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) announced that the State Controlling Board approved $12 million in funds to support the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation, which funds Ohio’s legal aid groups and legal aid societies.

“It is critical that all members of our community, but especially our underserved and low-income populations, have access to appropriate legal counsel and representation when navigating our country’s legal system,” said Rep. Russo. “This investment in legal aid services is essential to ensuring our judicial system is accessible and lives up to the promises of a fair and impartial judiciary that are enshrined in our country’s founding principles.”

The funds from this appropriation will be split between a variety of legal aid groups and societies around the state, as well as directly support the operations of the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation.

Legal aid helps low-income Ohioans who need legal assistance with civil matters that threaten their ability to live safe, stable, and productive lives. Ohio's legal aids return $2.90 for every dollar invested by, among other things, helping Ohio's veterans access the benefits they earned from their service; helping Ohioans validate their driver's licenses and seal and expunge old records so that they can get better jobs; and helping victims of domestic violence obtain protection orders to protect themselves and their children.

Other approved items include:

1. $1 million to opioid addiction prevention efforts through community-based agencies.

2. An appropriation of $1 million in federal funding for the Ohio Small Business Development Center program to foster a strong climate for small business growth.

3. Over $300,000 in funds to support The Department of Public Safety, Ohio Traffic Safety Office’s Youthful Driver Safety program.