The pandemic has made life more difficult and stressful for so many of us. Is someone you know having trouble making their rent or being hounded by a debt collector? Have they had trouble getting their unemployment checks? Perhaps they are being harassed at work or have concerns about working conditions? Or they're concerned about their utilities being shut off or their grandma's treatment in a nursing home. Maybe they're a vet and need to access those services. There are so many citizen concerns that could have fair resolutions if people could truly exercise their rights -- and there is a comprehensive website that can be very helpful. Ohio Legal Help is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2018 to help all Ohioans access the civil justice system. They leverage technology so that all Ohioans can understand their legal options, make informed decisions and connect to state and local resources. Their helpful website provides plain language legal information, self-help tools and constantly updated connections to local legal and community resources that can help people resolve their legal issues.
In 2015, Ohio’s Task Force on Access to Justice, convened by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, recommended specific actions to help close the civil justice information gap. The sixth recommendation from the Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Task Force Report was to “develop and maintain a statewide website devoted to providing free and accurate legal information to Ohio residents.” In response, in 2017 a Steering Committee -- including the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Ohio Judicial Conference, the Ohio Clerk of Courts Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation, the Alliance of Ohio Legal Aids, the Consortium of Ohio County Law Libraries, the Ohio Library Council, and the Ohio Domestic Violence Network -- came together to develop Ohio Legal Help. Today, these stakeholder groups continue to guide the content and tools developed for Ohio Legal Help through our advisory committee. This service is needed now more than ever. Please help Ohio Citizen Action spread the word.