"Shelter to close nine housing advice centres because of cuts to legal aid
By Ian Griggs, Third Sector Online, 11 March 2013
The housing charity says the £6m it receives each year for its face-to-face services could be halved
Shelter has confirmed that it will close nine housing advice centres with the loss of up to 90 jobs.
The housing and homelessness charity, which had an income of £52.9m in 2011/12, receives legal aid for its face-to-face advice services, worth about £6m a year.
The charity said that government cuts from the legal aid budget mean that up to 50 per cent of this money could be lost.
The government has said it will not fund legal advice and representation for routine housing claims from 1 April.
Shelter, which employs 1,250 people including its trading arm, said it would be forced to close its advice centres in Rotherham, Ashford, Dover, Milton Keynes, Cheshire, Gloucester, Somerset, Hertfordshire and Cumbria........................"
although there's some fairly disingenuous reporting:
"Most independent law centres are expected to survive: staff are being creative with their limited resources, low level charging has begun for advice in some cases and £65m – over two years – of government and lottery money has been made available to cover a "transition" period.
Other adaptations are likely. Lawyers are likely to be asked to provide more legal assistance on a free, or pro-bono, basis. At Teeside University, law students are offering free advice and some representation to the local community, while Keele University is collaborating with the judiciary, law profession and third sector to train "community legal companions" to provide assistance to litigants fighting cases on their own."