Bar News - May 9, 2008
Bar Foundation News: NH Economy Reflects Global Issues
By: Susan Noon
Predictions say that New Hampshire's senior population, age65 and older, which was 12 percent in 2000, will grow to 21.4 percent by 2030. In 2006, the US Census reported 237,000 people age 65 and older in New Hampshire. If the population grows as predicted, there will be well over 321,000 residents over the age of 65 in 2030.
As oil prices and mortgage foreclosures impact economies around the world, many more people are hungry, homeless, and poor. Even international organizations that prepare for the worst situations are unable to meet the ever-growing need. At the local level, the New Hampshire Bar Foundation is most aware of residents whose seek legal aid to obtain or protect their basic survival needs of food, shelter, safety, and medicine.
Grant proposals received by the NH Bar Foundation during the past few months alert us to some of the most pressing legal issues and how they are being addressed in New Hampshire. For example, in brief, we have learned:
∑ On any given day, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) represent 1,000 abused or neglected children.
∑ New Hampshire Legal Assistance advocacy on behalf of low-income and elderly clients generates millions of dollars in benefits every year that would otherwise not be realized.
∑ The Civil Practice Clinic at Franklin Pierce Law Center and NH Legal Assistance used their influence and expertise to help obtain passage of the amendment to the law regulating the payday-lending industry, along with many others who took a stand.
∑ The Disabilities Rightsí Center provided direct legal representation to 1,900 individuals with disabilities. Many thousands more benefited by litigation-type advocacy necessary to address systemic issues that were negatively impacting this population.
∑ From 1990-2000, nearly 30,000 foreign-born residents migrated to New Hampshire; 50 percent are Hispanic. Since 2001, the immigrant population has increased by 20,000. Inclusion and integration of new ethnic groups is the goal of several organizations.
Hundreds of pages of information and data are provided to the Bar Foundation annually that clearly make the case for increased funding for legal services programs. However, IOLTA Grants will be reduced this year and next, due to a decline in revenue from IOLTA.
The Bar Foundationís Justice Grants Program increased grant funding by 10 percent this year. Justice Grants are made from the Bar Foundationís permanent, endowed funds, invested and managed by the NH Charitable Foundation. Although the Justice Grants are much smaller than the IOLTA Grants at the moment, the potential for growth and long-term stability is substantial.
For more information about the New Hampshire Bar Foundation, please visit: www.nhbarfoundation.org or call the executive director, David G. Snyder at 603-715-3255.