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The goal is to bridge the digital divide through technology

(HOUSTON/CW39) — Some of the last people to receive legal assistance are often those who need it the most. Low income residents. Now one organization is trying to change that, by bringing the technology to low income people, for FREE.

The Texas Legal Services Center, a nonprofit organization funded by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, has now launched the Virtual Court Access Project.

This is a statewide pilot project aiming to improve low-income Texans’ ability to receive free legal services. It connects with courts through deploying virtual court kiosks to places like local libraries in communities around Texas. All kiosks are accessible in English and Spanish.

Another goal for the Virtual Court Access Project is to bridge the digital divide through technology—in a setting where users can easily find additional resources to help them solve their problems.

CW39 Anchor Sharron Melton talks with Denise Scofield, litigation attorney and Texas Access to Justice Foundation Board Member talks about the program, and what it means to those struggling and in need of legal help, finally get it.

At the kiosks, Texans who lack dependable access to either a computer, smartphone or reliable internet connection can effectively attend an online court hearing, receive free legal help or find legal information and resources.

One of the state’s first virtual court kiosks is available for Richmond residents at the Fort Bend County Willie Melton Law Library, located at 1422 Eugene Heimann Circle Richmond, Texas.

The statewide pilot project will deploy 25 virtual court kiosks to every region of Texas where they will be installed inside community centers, shelters, clinics, libraries and other high-traffic locations convenient to communities. With increased funding, TLSC plans to implement 250 additional kiosks across the state to reach disadvantaged Texans. 

Texas Supreme Court Justice Brett Busby and TLSC Executive Director, Karen Miller, celebrated the launch with a ribbon cutting ceremony at one of the state’s first virtual court kiosks available.

There are currently 5 legal kiosks in the surrounding area. For more information, you can go to Texas Legal Services for a location near you.

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