Making Justice Real

The Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Dec 19

2014

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Major Appellate Victory for D.C.’s Homeless

Yesterday, in a major win for homeless families in the District of Columbia, the D.C. Court of Appeals held that homeless plaintiffs can sue to force the government to provide apartment-style or private-room shelter on any night when the temperature drops below freezing. Legal Aid joined a number of other legal services organizations and housing advocates to submit an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs in the case. Read more →

Dec 19

2014

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Senate Passes Tax Bill Extending Key Protections for Distressed Homeowners

Distressed homeowners who have completed short sales and worried about the looming tax consequences of cancelled or forgiven mortgage debt are one step closer to meaningful relief.

Late Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill retroactively extending the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act through the year 2014 – meaning that homeowners of underwater properties (i.e., those owing more on their homes than the homes are currently worth) whose lenders have cancelled or forgiven debt as part of a short sale or similar transaction on their principal residence will not be penalized with tax liability. Read more →

Dec 17

2014

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Washington Lawyer Profiles Legal Aid Senior Lawyers

Jack Keeney, former director of Legal Aid’s Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy Project, and Tom Papson, Volunteer Staff Attorney with Legal Aid’s Consumer Law Unit, are profiled in the cover story, “Senior Lawyers Taking on Pro Bono,” of this month’s Washington Lawyer, a District of Columbia Bar publication.  The article focuses on the growing number of senior lawyers who are moving on from distinguished careers in private practice to pursue a new chapter in their professional lives working in both paid staff and volunteer positions in legal services organizations. Read more →

Dec 11

2014

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NYT Article Confirms Ongoing Medicaid Service Gaps

According to a recent New York Times article, in a survey of 32 states, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found that half of the providers surveyed (who were listed as participating with one of the state’s Medicaid managed care plans) could not offer appointments to enrollees. Of these providers, one-third were no longer at the listed location; another 8 percent did not participate with the listed health plan; and another 8 percent were not accepting new Medicaid patients. Read more →

Dec 09

2014

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Legal Aid Client Featured in NPR Story

This past weekend, National Public Radio (NPR) ran a provocative piece on its website about the so-called “collateral consequences” of criminal convictions. The article focused on the challenges that a recent Legal Aid client had in trying to obtain housing.

The term “collateral consequences” refers to the often long-lasting impact of an individual’s criminal conviction. In many instances, the issue arises years later, often long after the sentence is served (or in some cases, suspended and never served) and the debt to society paid. These consequences can be catastrophic for individuals as they try to reintegrate into the community, but instead encounter roadblocks to securing gainful employment, stable housing, and even an education.  Read more →