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Grant helps Legal Aid Service of Collier County assist at-risk tenants

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“Legal Aid always places a high priority on using our lawyers to preserve the safety, health, and minimum economic security of our clients in need, which includes securing safe shelter and the ability to meet other basic needs,” said Carol O’Callaghan, deputy executive director of Legal Aid Service of Collier County. “The Collier Community Foundation grant is much needed this year and has significantly bolstered our capacity to assist clients who are housing insecure and to meet the growing needs of tenants who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising inflation and housing costs that are challenging lower income households and struggling working families.”

The Housing, Consumer, Senior, Veterans, Public Benefits, and Disaster Law Unit assists more than 250 clients in need annually, including many who need free legal services to avoid eviction or foreclosure. Collier County launched an Eviction Diversion Program in 2022, funded through an American Rescue Plan grant from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and administered locally by Collier County’s Community and Human Services Division. Legal Aid Service of Collier County participates in this Eviction Diversion Program assisting tenants in need and working to find alternatives to eviction. Legal Aid Service of Collier County’s Housing Unit consists of two full-time staff attorneys and two full-time paralegals. The Housing Unit is also supported by grants from the United Way of Collier and the Keys, the Naples Women’s Club, Naples United Church of Christ, and sub-grants from Florida Rural Legal Services and Jacksonville Area Legal Aid.

The grant provided by the Collier Community Foundation is part of a safety net for local residents and families who are at risk of eviction or foreclosure and who need legal services to stay in safe and affordable housing.

The Collier Community Foundation awards annual grants through a competitive application and review process. Selected organizations receive grant dollars from the Community Impact Fund, made up of donors who believe in the Community Foundation’s ability to identify and grant to the community’s most current needs.

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