Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Chasing the Dream -- utilities, legal services for poor

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jun 3, 2016 3:39 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, June 3, 2016:

As part of WITF's on-going Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America project, Friday's Smart Talk looks at how those who can't afford a lawyer or struggle with paying utilities are able to get legal assistance or help in heating their homes.

Utilities are one of the basics in life. Gas heating and electricity are not merely quality of life improvements, but are also needed to perform the essentials like preparing food or keeping a house warm in dangerously cold winter temperatures. Many households lose their utilities if bills haven't been paid on time.  In 2014 alone, more than 312,000 households in Pennsylvania had their utilities shut off, four times greater than the number of shutoffs that regularly occurred in the 1990s.

Joining us Friday to discuss the burdens and cycle of struggling with utilities and late payments are Patrick Cicero, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project.  The Pennsylvania Utility Law Project is a specialized project of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network. They seek to provide information, assistance, and advice on low income residential utility and energy matters.

Also, many people living in poverty may feel they are unable to seek legal help because they can't afford a lawyer.  That means justice isn't served sometimes.  Appearing on the program to discuss the help and options available is Rhodia Thomas, Executive Director of MidPenn Legal Services.  MidPenn Legal Services is a non-profit operating in Central Pennsylvania that says it is dedicated to providing equal access to justice and high quality civil legal service to low-income residents and survivors of domestic violence.

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Guests Lurnetta Young and Rhodia Thomas

Published in News, Smart Talk

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