For those who are looking for legal aid in Kentucky, an event is being hosted by Kentucky Legal Aid on Monday in Todd County for a listening session and conversation regarding legal aid resources in the community.

KLA Director of Advocacy Katina Miner and one other Legal Aid official will be hosting a listening session beginning at 9 a.m. Monday at the PACS Todd County Senior Center at 104 Morris Weathers Lane in Elkton.

KLA is a non-profit civil legal aid law firm serving 35 counties in south central and western Kentucky, with its main office located in Bowling Green. The organization focuses on providing civil legal assistance to people in poverty and is conducting a large survey of its counties, beginning in Todd County. The survey is part of a needs assessment that Kentucky Legal Aid conducts periodically. By the end of the year, the group will have prioritized certain areas where communities indicate they need help.

"We are taking polls basically of our local communities that we are serving and making sure we are aware of what legal needs are there and then tailoring our case acceptance priorities and our work in that area to meet client needs," Miner said.

"We are trying to make sure to talk to folks about what resources are there and what additional resources and needs people are having in the community."

So, at this listening session Monday, everyone in the public is invited and will have the opportunity to voice what they need or what they believe the community needs as far as civil legal assistance.

For example, those needs may include family law matters, housing, consumer credit, criminal record expungement, divorce and things of that nature.

The event will include doughnuts provided by KLA and information packets, and the early beginning is intended to allow individuals time before their work day to attend the session.

The session will also include other agencies who cater to similar customers as KLA so that those attending will know what resources are available in their community and to offer Kentucky Legal Aid the possibility to partner with those agencies.

"We won't be giving out any legal advice about specific issues," Miner said. "But we want to hear about any barriers folks have to getting legal representation or generally what types of problems people are facing."

Miner explained that legal aid knows that there are a large number of people who have legal issues including custody, domestic violence, financial issues and more. Through this listening session, KLA is looking to find out how it can better help the communities it serves.

After KLA finishes doing several sessions, like the one in Elkton on Monday, the organization hopes to move forward with new prioritizations to better help its clientele by the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020.

Last year, KLA closed 6,540 civil cases and is hoping to build on that statistic with more closed cases in the future.

The bulk of those cases (59%) were family related cases, however, they also include housing, income, consumer or finance, individual rights, health, employment, juvenile and education.

KLA and Miner's hope is that the listening sessions will help reveal what areas communities need improvement in and what KLA should be focusing on.

"We are interested in what folks in Elkton, Todd County and the surrounding area need and the barriers that the community may be facing in terms of accessing the courts or getting civil legal help they need, and we would just love to hear from them so that we can tell them what we may be able to provide and make sure they are aware of the resources that are there.

"(We also want) to tailor our services to better meet the needs of the people," Miner said.

If you or someone you know may be interested in receiving services from Kentucky Legal Aid, the group asks that you call its toll free line at 800-467-2193 or 800-782-1924.

Reach Avery Seeger at 270-887-3236 or aseeger@kentuckynewera.com. Follow him on Twitter @AveryNewEra.

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