A new program is aimed at helping the poor in Central and Southern Illinois in court. The Diocese of Springfield is asking for volunteers to provide legal services to assist people who can’t afford representation in civil cases. Steven Roach, executive director of Catholic Charities for the diocese, says that could cover everything from landlord-tenant disputes to collecting unpaid back wages from an employer.
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“So there’s a number of situations where people find themselves in where they need legal representation and they just can’t afford it,” Roach said. “Because of that, they have to experience consequences that most people don’t have to.” The Caritas Legal Services program will provide assistance through eight regional offices in Alton, Springfield, Decatur, Granite City, Carlinville, Quincy, Mattoon and Effingham. Roach says while the program is currently seeking volunteers, it should begin taking referrals in six to eight weeks.