Facing budget cuts of more than $2 million, Legal Aid of North Carolina plans to eliminate about 30 positions and close its offices in Smithfield, Boone and Henderson by the end of September.
Those three offices have served about 2,000 households a year in Johnston, Harnett, Sampson, Allegheny, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, Vance and Yancey counties.
The nonprofit looked at furloughs and salary cuts but the reductions in funding were too great, said George Hausen, Legal Aid of North Carolina's executive director.
Legal Aid's total budget was around $20 million a year before the cuts.
By closing rural offices, Legal Aid hopes to maximize the number of poor people it serves at its current funding level.
"We serve poor people, and in the rural areas we have to travel a much greater distance to serve fewer people," Hausen said.
"In order to keep the numbers high and serve as many poor people as we possibly could we decided that we needed to circle the wagons in the big, urban offices."