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LSHV Press Release Economic Benefits 2019-2020

LSHV Generates $81,500,000 in Economic Benefits to NYS in 2019-2020

WHITE PLAINS, NY – Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV), the only provider in the Hudson Valley of free, comprehensive civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged individuals and families who cannot afford an attorney when their basic needs are at stake, generated an economic impact of $81,483,479 from April 2019-March 2020. LSHV handled almost 15,000 cases in 2019, impacting over 33,500 household members throughout our seven-county service area (Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Ulster, and Sullivan).

Through its casework in areas including housing, domestic violence, public benefits, and healthcare, LSHV generates economic returns through two major corollaries of its work:

  1. Secure financial benefits directly for clients in public benefits cases, which are then returned to the economy through consumer spending, and
  2. Avoid emergency services and long-term welfare costs associated with homelessness, domestic violence, and poverty, which are funded by the government and passed along to taxpayers.

In 2019-2020, LSHV’s homelessness prevention program, domestic violence/family law work, supplemental income, SSI/SSD and unemployment benefits resulted in $55,056,405 in direct economic benefits. When multiplied by the U.S Dept. of Commerce total economic stimulus effect of federal funding – a factor of 1.48 – LSHV’s impact increases to almost $81,500,000. This is because every dollar saved generates an additional economic benefit.

LSHV’s work in homelessness prevention (eviction and foreclosure cases) is particularly cost-effective. It costs an estimated $24,000 to house a homeless family in New York State, so preventing evictions and foreclosures avoids these costs. From April 2019-May 2020, LSHV prevented homelessness in 1,754 instances, generating $27,811,200 in direct savings. Preventing foreclosures also avoids the costs associated with abandoned and vacant properties, which create blight in communities and decrease the value of surrounding properties. In 2019-2020, LSHV prevented 58 foreclosures, resulting in $10,828,310 in direct economic benefit.

This impact is especially timely as we near the expiration of the moratoria on eviction and foreclosure in NYS. LSHV expects an influx of housing cases for clients who were unable to pay their rent or mortgage but couldn’t move because of the COVID-19 crisis, and who will face homelessness when the moratoria end. In addition, government funding is limited and facing increasing demands. As we navigate re-opening the state, funding civil legal services is not only ethically essential, it is a financially sound investment. Preventing homelessness and domestic violence and securing benefits for veterans, seniors, and people with disabilities are services that will pay for themselves and free up government resources for other urgent needs.

About Legal Services of the Hudson Valley

LSHV is the only provider of free, comprehensive civil (non-criminal) legal services to low-income and disadvantaged individuals and families who cannot afford an attorney when their basic human needs are at stake. This includes urgent legal needs such as: housing emergencies, domestic violence, healthcare, children’s law and advocacy, disability and benefits, elder law, consumer fraud and more. Founded more than 50 years ago, LSHV serves the seven counties of the lower and mid-Hudson Valley (Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Ulster, and Sullivan), maintaining a staff of 165 individuals working across ten offices throughout its service area.

For more information about Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, to volunteer, or contribute, please visit lshv.org, or contact Maureen Fox at 914-949-1305 x160 or mfox@lshv.org.