|Sample script to email or call Buncombe County Commissioners:
My name is ________________________ and I live in Buncombe County. I am writing to ask the Buncombe County Commissioners to approve Pisgah Legal’s requests for COVID relief funds to support their vital homelessness prevention and domestic violence prevention programs.
Last year, Pisgah Legal impacted more than 11,000 people in Buncombe County and the need for their services is expected to increase significantly in the coming year.
Pisgah Legal’s Homelessness Prevention Program provides free civil legal assistance to help low-income individuals and families avoid homelessness by preventing unnecessary or unwarranted evictions. Evictions have devastating social and economic ripple effects on individuals and families, especially children as they can disrupt schooling and inflict emotional trauma.
As the eviction moratorium is no longer in effect and the affordable housing crisis worsens, thousands in our community face dislocation and homelessness. Making matters worse, PLS has foundation grants expiring for this work at this unfortunate period. Funding legal services to prevent unnecessary evictions and foreclosures should be a high priority for using American Rescue Plan Act funds.
Pisgah Legal is also requesting assistance from Buncombe County to help bridge the $1.2 million two-year funding gap caused by a loss in Victims of Crime Act funding. This funding cut occurs on October 1, 2021. This funding enables their attorneys to take legal action so that survivors of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault can escape abuse and rebuild their lives. Legal aid is an essential tool in the toolbox of domestic violence prevention as people who cannot afford an attorney suffer greater harm because they have much more difficulty separating their lives from their abusers. According to the United Nations, all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified since the outbreak of COVID-19, a phenomenon called the “Shadow Pandemic.”
Beyond the pandemic, domestic violence and child abuse prevention programs, like Pisgah Legal’s, are critical in interrupting multigenerational trauma and ensuring that the cycle of violence is broken. According to the Urban Child Institute, children witnessing domestic violence carry a lifelong burden that manifests as developmental delays and serious health issues as well as an increased likelihood in living in violent relationships themselves, whether as victims or as perpetrators.
Pisgah Legal provides free legal aid that is key for our community to emerge from the pandemic a stronger and more equitable place for generations to come. I urge you to approve Pisgah Legal’s funding applications.