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U.S. Senator Brown announces $712K in funds to ABLE, LAWO


April 27, 2009: At today’s opening of the Center for Equal Justice, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced how more than $700,000 in new federal funds would help expand legal services for underserved communities in Northwest and Western Ohio.


“This center will be a headquarters for social and economic justice in Northwest Ohio,” Brown said. “This center will help expand legal services available to low-income Ohioans. Beyond providing a home for these services, this building will contribute to the economic development of downtown Toledo.”


The new center, located at 525 Jefferson Street at the corner of Huron, will house Ohio’s largest legal services programs—Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) and Legal Aid of Western Ohio (LAWO)—under one roof.

Senator Sherrod Brown


The building, which will be home to services for low-income Ohioans from 32 counties, will “fulfill the federal government’s commitment to ‘justice for all’ and contribute to the development of downtown Toledo through the revitalization of a building that has been largely vacant for more than 30 years,” said Brown.


Brown secured $712,500 in federal funds through the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 to support the opening of the center. The total cost of the project is approximately $6.8 million, of which $6.5 million has been raised to date.


According to Joseph Tafelski, executive director of ABLE, the loading of 40 years worth of case files, client records, furniture, and other items and moving them one block to the new space has been highly anticipated by everyone involved – including the 90 or more employees who will continue the work at Toledo’s law firms for the poor from the Center for Equal Justice. 


“We are very excited to finally be moving into our own building,” says Tafelski. “Staff have been packing in the evenings and weekends for months and are thrilled the day has finally arrived,” he adds. 








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