Merrimack Valley Legal Services
Merrimack Valley Legal Services, Inc. is the federally-funded nonprofit legal services program providing civil legal assistance to low-income people in 54 cities and towns of Essex and northern Middlesex counties since 1974. MVLS is a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation with a twenty-one member board of directors that includes low-income members of our service community and private bar practitioners. We are a full-service legal services staff program with attorneys and paralegals offering representation in civil matters for low-income people.
MVLS represents victims of domestic violence in family law cases, families facing eviction, homeowners facing foreclosure because of the economic crisis, elders with health law claims, nursing home problems, and other issues affecting the elder population, and those denied governement benefits. Its impact work has included making the Lowell Superior Court accessible to handicapped litigants, securing the right to emergency heating for thousands of gas company customers, modeling nationally its outreach program for linguistically and culturally isolated communities, and securing the rights of tenants to raise reasonable accommodation as a defense in post-eviction cases.
MVLS receives the majority of its funding from the federal Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and under a subgrant of Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC); it also receives a number of smaller grants from the government and private foundations. The program’s main office is in Lowell, and it has outreach sites in Lawrence and Lynn (in offices of regional partners Neighborhood Legal Services and the Children’s Law Center).