Prairie State Legal Services of Galesburg provides legal services for low-income individuals and seniors in the counties of Knox, Warren, Henderson, and McDonough. Attorney Tracey Mergener described some of the work that her organization does to help those in the surrounding area.
“We do not provide criminal work. It’s all civil legal work. We do a variety of things – everything from representation in court, to advice, counseling, legal education programs, outreach – just to serve the most vulnerable in our communities,” Mergener said.
Victims of domestic violence, those at risk of losing housing, and custody battles are just a few of the issues that Mergener deals with on a daily basis. She says domestic violence is the primary issue that her office deals with. Mergener’s office assists victims with finding the right resources to speed up the process of getting protection.
“Fortunately with domestic violence cases, especially orders of protection, those go fairly rapidly,” she said. “If an individual is a victim of domestic violence, their first step is to contact the local domestic violence agency. For Monmouth, it would be WIRC out of Macomb.”
Prairie State’s relationship with the Warren County United Way has helped the organization build back up after budget cuts hurt mightily in 2011. Mergener is very thankful for their help.
“We have been able to show the different funders that we apply for assistance to that we have this local support, and we are a viable business, and there is a great need for our services,” Mergener said.
To learn more about Prairie State Legal Services, contact their offices at 309-621-4018.
written by Jackson Kane