Partnership with NC Equal Access to Justice Commission and Equal Justice Alliance
Greensboro, N.C. (October 26, 2020) – UNC Greensboro (UNCG) today announced a comprehensive study and survey of residents across the state to help obtain additional information and inform efforts related to civil legal needs and programs in our community. The study, in partnership with the NC Equal Access to Justice Commission and the Equal Justice Alliance, will help to gain a more detailed understanding of how race, gender, age, disability and other factors affect the depth and type of civil legal problems people experience.
The Public Is Encouraged To:
More than 2 million North Carolinians are eligible for the services of legal aid providers. Civil legal problems impact the most basic human needs: housing, health care, safety, economic stability, and family structure, among others. Legal aid providers help meet these fundamental needs through providing expert representation in the areas of domestic violence protection, divorce, child custody, housing, consumer protection, employment, veterans’ benefits, and health.
“North Carolina’s civil legal needs have not been systematically evaluated since 2003. It is so important that we get a better understanding of the gaps in availability of services and what resources are needed to address unmet legal needs,” said NC Equal Access to Justice Commission Advisory Committee Chair Anita Earls, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of North Carolina. “We want to hear from people who may have needed an attorney for any type of civil legal issue. Your experiences will help inform legal aid providers and stakeholder organizations seeking to guarantee equal access to the courts.”
Earlier this year, the Equal Access to Justice Commission and the Equal Justice Alliance partnered with UNCG’s Center for Housing and Community Studies to conduct the study that will identify legal needs of low-income communities and document current resources and services available to meet those needs. They have already conducted interviews, focus groups and a survey of legal providers as well as a statistical analysis of court records.
Lead researcher Dr. Stephen Sills who heads the UNCG Center for Housing and Community Studies, explains, “this study provides data and analysis that will be useful in identifying disparities in access to legal services by geographic, racial, gender and other demographic characteristics, telling us who gets help and who does not. If you live in North Carolina, please take this survey and help us in our efforts to improve legal services across the state.”
Residents in North Carolina can take the survey, which takes approximately 15 minutes to complete, over the next six weeks. After completing the survey, participants may register to be included in a sweepstakes drawing for one of ten $100 gift cards. Community groups, non-profits, churches, advocacy organizations, and others are also encouraged to share the survey to help ensure a diverse and high response rate.
A final report for both the study and survey is expected to be presented to the NC Equal Access to Justice Commission Advisory Committee in early 2021. The survey can be accessed online at https://go.uncg.edu/legal