The Legal Aid Society of Columbus will offer its first Grove City legal-advice clinic on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Grove City United Methodist Church, 2684 Columbus St.

The clinic will help individuals receive answers to their legal questions regarding civil matters, including landlord-tenant, public benefits, consumer debt, expungement and family law matters.

The intake at the Feb. 3 clinic will begin at 3 p.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. Advance registration is not required.

The LASC offers similar clinics each month at various locations in Columbus, Westerville and Hilliard, said Dianna Howie, pro bono coordinator with the society.

The sessions are designed for low-income adults and families who need to speak to an attorney, but may not be able to afford one, Howie said.

"In our society, the ability to get legal justice is so often tied to whether you have the means to obtain legal representation or the knowledge of where to get it," she said.

The society offers guidance and representation for people navigating the legal system, Howie said.

"We know that without proper representation, justice can be difficult to come by and it's our mission to improve the lives of low-income residents and senior citizens of Columbus and central Ohio by providing high quality legal representation that meets our clients' legal needs," she said.

It's not just a lack of funds that may keep some people from contacting an attorney, Howie said. Some people are apprehensive about the legal system and meeting with an attorney.

Instead of speaking to an attorney, many people get legal "advice" that is often misleading or incorrect from neighbors or family members, she said.

"It's really important to talk to an attorney and have your fears put to rest," Howie said. "We try to take away the fear factor with our clinics."

The Grove City clinic is a collaborative effort between the LASC, the Grove City United Methodist Church, which will be hosting the local events, and lawyers who volunteer their time, Howie said.

Attorneys are available to answer questions only, she said.

To receive the free advice at the clinic, an individual or family must have a gross household income below 250 percent of the federal poverty level, Howie said.

For an individual, the maximum income level is $29,700. Other thresholds are $40,050, family of two; $50,400, family of three; $60,750, family of four.

"When you arrive at our clinic, you will be asked some questions about your income and assets," Howie said.

"We will require you to show proof of immigration status, including a green card or an I-94 if you are a non-citizen," she said.

"We're looking forward to this being the first in a regular series of free legal clinics we will be holding in Grove City," Howie said.

Questions about intake eligibility can be answered by calling 614-224-8374.

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