Project Renew to Expand Thanks to ARC Grant

We are thrilled to be the recipients of a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to provide free civil legal help to break down barriers for impoverished individuals in opioid recovery to support their full recovery and integration into the workforce. Legal Advocates (attorney and paralegals) will work in tandem with social workers, drug court personnel, and recovery and career center staff to address the issues that make workers' lives unstable, in turn creating a stronger workforce and stronger communities.


AppalReD Legal Aid's Project Renew: Revitalization and Recovery Through Civil Legal Aid will break down legal barriers preventing full recovery and integration into the workforce. The project will serve more than 1000 impoverished individuals in recovery and exiting jail across 20 ARC counties: Bell, Breathitt, Clark, Clay, Estill, Floyd, Garrard, Harlan, Jackson, Knox, Laurel, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Madison, Owsley, Perry, Powell, Whitley, and Wolfe counties, covered by three of AppalReD Legal Aid’s offices: Barbourville, Hazard, and Richmond.


Project Renew launched in January 2022 in Floyd County with the addition of a dedicated attorney, Casey Michalovic. 


Casey Michalovic (Project Renew Attorney), J.R. Morton (Project Renew Resource Coordinator, MCCC), and Melena Blanton, Kentucky Courts CDW Program


See the graphic below to see what Project Renew has already accomplished!


Project Renew is a powerful model. Take a look at this link to view how civil legal aid can support recovery. 


In the coming weeks, AppalReD Legal Aid will be hiring a second Project Renew Attorney and two paralegals to staff the project's expansion.


“We are thrilled to expand Project Renew to 19 more counties. There are so many ways legal aid can support someone in recovery. We already knew from a pilot project that 80 percent of individuals in recovery have more than one civil legal aid issue they needed help with," said Robert Johns, Executive Director of AppalReD Legal Aid. "We address the poverty issues that wear people down, even when they desperately want to succeed. Attorneys can help with clearing a criminal record, domestic violence and custody issues, evictions and housing, and much more. The potential of this group of people is boundless. Civil legal aid unlocks that potential. People can and do recover from addiction, particularly when they are supported by community systems."


The award is part of a recently announced $12 million package through ARC’s INSPIRE Initiative, which addresses the region’s substance use disorder crisis with investments that strengthen services in the recovery ecosystem and help facilitate workforce entry and re-entry.


“I commend AppalReD Legal Aid for their work supporting the recovery ecosystem in Appalachian Kentucky,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “AppalReD Legal Aid is a great asset in our efforts to address the region’s substance use disorder crisis, and I look forward to seeing how they will help build a strong recovery ecosystem and a stronger workforce for the opportunities of tomorrow.”



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