Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) is a non-profit regional law firm that provides high quality legal assistance in civil matters to help eligible low-income individuals and groups in western Ohio achieve self reliance, and equal justice and economic opportunity.
A Regional Water Plan
A regional water plan that included no protections for people with low incomes, now includes provisions to ensure the City will create assistance programs for families with low-income and safely replacing lead pipes. Now, community members most vulnerable to harm from water rate hikes are participating in planning for those utility programs.
A group of pastors from several neighborhoods with high poverty rates, United Pastors for Social Empowerment, successfully advocated for a provision in a City Charter amendment requiring the City of Toledo to include programs designed to assist the more than 70,000 people living in poverty in Toledo as part of a regional water plan with support from ABLE in researching and drafting legislative provisions addressing their concerns. At first, the proposed draft for an amendment to the City of Toledo’s Charter to create a regional water authority included no terms at all to ensure the creation of assistance programs for families with low-income. But thanks to ABLE’s representation of the pastors, the Charter was changed to include language that ABLE drafted to address this issue. Most recently, the City provided an ordinance to City Council that would grant authority to the Mayor of Toledo to sign a 40-year contract regarding regional water rates. ABLE, on behalf of its client, asked for changes to the Ordinance to indicate that the City remained committed to creating the affordability programs it promised.
As a result of ABLE’s research support, the pastors, on behalf of their communities, are now involved in identifying appropriate programs to be implemented by the City as it begins to reform its retail rates and assistance programs.