Closing the Civil Justice Gap


The "justice gap," commonly defined as the difference between the civil legal needs of low-income individuals and the resources available to meet those needs, is a significant and persistent problem that affects many millions of Americans each year. According to the Legal Services Corporation, 98% of tenants in eviction cases and 95% of parents in child support cases face the legal system without any legal representation. The tragic costs, from housing instability to broken families, is incalculable. 


The American Academy of Arts & Sciences released a report in September 2020 titled "Civil Justice for All." With a topical focus on Veterans, Housing, Families, and Health, the report issued a wide array of recommendations for closing the justice gap, including the resources necessary to make it happen.

VLS co-Executive Director and Chief Counsel Anna Richardson discussed the report and its findings with Harvard Law School Professor Martha Minow, who co-chaired the project.

"Veterans face serious problems that nonveterans do not, such as struggles to obtain health benefits and other veterans services they are due from the government...problems often exacerbated by challenges like mental illness and homelessness."
— Civil Justice for All
Veterans and Legal Aid Reports

Veterans Represent 8% of U.S. Homeless Population

MA veteran homelessness declines, but still among the highest in the nation

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, March 2021


COVID and the Impact on MA Veterans

Pandemic has affected veterans in unprecedented ways

Center for a New American Security, December 2020

Veteran Suicide Rate Remains High

17.6 veterans committed suicide each day in 2018

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, November 2020

Legal Aid is an Essential Service

Greater funding needed in Massachusetts for civil justice 

Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, September 2020

Outreach, Trauma and Counseling for MA Vets

Resources available for Bay State veterans

MA Secretary of the State


Supporting Veterans in Massachusetts

An assessment of needs, well-being, and available resources

Rand Corporation, 2017