NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — People are getting free legal services thanks to the help of Legal Aid of Arkansas.

Resmond Pankae found himself in need of help when his paycheck was getting docked due to unpaid debt.

“I couldn’t get enough to buy foods, pay bills, pay rent,” Pankae said through an interpreter.

His friends told him about Legal Aid of Arkansas providing free legal services to people in need.

“Any kind of civil case you can think of: We focus on consumer rights, access to safe and affordable housing, domestic justice, protecting from domestic violence and economic justice,” Legal Aid Executive Director Lee Richardson said.

Susan Purtle has been a staff attorney there for more than 30 years.

“It’s just important to balance the scales of justice and bring justice to bear for them when they were wronged,” she said.

She has helped field a lot of cases during the pandemic. Legal aid closed 7,000 last year alone.

“Our low-income taxpayer clinic has been swamped by cases with people trying to get their stimulus payments and a lot of those clients have been Marshallese,” Richardson said.

Also, landlord-tenant cases have doubled and there has been a 272% increase in unemployment compensation cases.

For Pankae, he just needed to take home more of his paycheck. Legal Aid helped stop the garnishment and get him some money back.

“I would like to thank Legal Aid for helping me and my family now that I am able to support and provide for my family,” he said.

If you would like to learn more about Legal Aid of Arkansas, click here.