Legal Needs Assessment Results Are Here

We are excited to inform you that the findings from the community legal needs assessment are now available.

You can access the full report here.

We want to extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who participated. Your input was invaluable. Your insights and feedback were instrumental in helping us understand the pressing legal issues faced by low-income residents in our community. We could not have done it without you.

To be exact. 421 of you.

AppalReD Legal Aid Service Area

AppalReD Legal Aid serves 37 counties throughout eastern and south-central Kentucky. Approximately, 200,000 low-income people qualify for our services. It is no surprise that our region is one of the poorest in the nation.


  • 35 out of 37 counties in AppalReD's service region have lower median income than the state average median income.

  • 25 out of 37 counties in AppalReD's service region have higher ALICE ((Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) thresholds than the rest of the state. These people are often considered the "working poor." The challenges faced by the working poor include low wages, lack of access to benefits and social services, limited education and training opportunities, poverty, and inequality.

  • 19 out of 37 counties are considered highly vulnerable according to CDC Social Vulnerability Index.

    ThredPartners found that there is a growing gap between Federal Poverty Line and Asset Limited income due to inflation and cost of living. More people need our services but find themselves NOT financially eligible but also unable to afford an attorney.

Top Legal Issues and Barriers

Key Takeaways

After analyzing Census Data, other demographic information, and survey, focus group and interview data, here are some key takeaways.

Housing Crisis: The housing situation has significantly worsened. The increased cost of housing, lower incomes, and the devastating 2022 floods have left many without homes. Some areas are no longer habitable, reducing the availability of affordable housing.

Family Unit Deterioration: The stress of poverty has increased mental health issues and substance abuse, leading to broken families. Over 50,000 grandparents are now raising their grandchildren, indicating a significant social shift.

Employment and Infrastructure Decline: The loss of coal mining and manufacturing jobs has led to a lack of reliable employment and essential services. Many are now dependent on low-wage, part-time jobs without benefits, making it difficult to meet basic needs.

Drug Crisis: The opioid epidemic has resulted in increased addiction, overdose deaths, and incarceration rates (particularly for women). Many individuals are unaware that their issues could be addressed legally, and social services are struggling to meet the demand for assistance.

Legal Education Needs: Community partners identified a need for more legal education Topics such as Family Law, Housing, Public Benefits, and Civil Rights were highlighted as areas where AppalReD could make a significant impact.

Awareness of Free Legal Aid: A significant portion of respondents were unaware of AppalReD and other free legal services. Increasing awareness and outreach is crucial to ensure equitable access to legal assistance.

Disparities Among Minorities:  Minority communities face similar issues as white resident but have distinct challenges. Employment related legal issues were a concern. Significantly, while the population of eastern Kentucky has declined by five percent, populations of color have grown (Black residents by 4%, Asian residents by 26%, and HIspanic residents by 37%). 

Distrust in the Legal System: Many community partners and respondents indicated distrust in the legal system, believing it favors individuals based on income or social status. Building trust through increased community engagement and awareness is essential.

What's Next?

Join us on July 11 at 11 am for a conversation with our Executive Director and Advocacy Director on results from the legal needs assessment. Save this link to log in on Zoom. 

The comprehensive report available here details the specific legal needs identified and will be crucial in guiding our collaborative efforts to better serve our community.

We will use the information from the assessment as we launch strategic planning in the coming weeks. We will set goals and priorities for the next five years.

We hope the legal needs assessment findings spark ideas for collaboration and outreach. Please reach out to with ideas, thoughts, and feedback.

Last updated on .

Table of Contents


    News & publications

    The news about recent activities for needed peoples.

    More News

    25 Jun 2024

    Legal Needs Assessment Results Are Here

    We are excited to inform you that the findings from the community legal needs…

    Continue Reading

    21 Jun 2024

    Strategic Planning Consultant Needed

    Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky, Inc. (AppalReD Legal Aid)…

    Continue Reading