PLA at a glance

Philadelphia Legal Assistance is the only federally-funded provider of free legal assistance to low-income people in Philadelphia.

PLA serves Philadelphia residents who cannot afford an attorney -- those whose household income is less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines (e.g., $4,100 per month for a family of 4).

PLA's services range from simple advice and counsel to representation in complex litigation on behalf of individuals fighting to save their homes, their families and their livelihoods.

PLA leverages volunteers by supervising four law school clinical programs which focus on custody, food stamps, unemployment compensation and assistance to those fleeing domestic violence. PLA supports attorney volunteers by conducting intake for Philadelphia VIP and the Consumer Bankruptcy Assistance Project.

PLA also serves the community by operating two Medical-Legal-Community Partnerships, the Save Your Home Philly Hotline, a Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, and by staffing the Family Court Help Center.

Clients come to PLA when they are experiencing a legal matter that impacts their ability to meet their basic human needs.  Our legal services address:

Housing stability

  • Mortgage foreclosure
  • Real estate tax foreclosure

Family safety and stability

  • Protection from abuse
  • Child custody

Healthcare access

  • Medicaid
  • Medicare

Income maintenance

  • Social Security
  • Unemployment Compensation
  • Food Stamps

Demand for services

Eligible client population 731,293
Unique visitors to PLA's web site in 2016 67,750
Unique callers to PLA's telephone intake in 2016 32,902
Calls to PLA's foreclosure help hotline in 2016 16,064

Services provided in 2016

Legal assistance cases completed 5,345
        Seniors 1,169
        Veterans 343
        Domestic violence survivors 474
        Sexual assault survivors 177
Family members of clients who also benefited from PLA's legal assistance 6,513

Philadelphia residents served by PLA in 2016

Map of Philadelphia residents served by PLA in 2016

PLA's funding in 2016

Legal Services Corporation $3.2 million (69%)
HUD's Community Development Block Grant Program $585,000 (13%)
Department of Justice, Internal Revenue Service, and other federal sources $357,437 (8%)
State, local, private sources $509,396 (11%)

Download a one-page PDF about PLA