Making Justice Real

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

Jun 19

2018

Kelly Voss Recognized for Extraordinary Pro Bono Commitment

Today Legal Aid is presenting its Making Justice Real Pro Bono Award to Kelly Voss, Pro Bono Counsel at Covington & Burling. The Making Justice Real Pro Bono Award recognizes attorneys who have provided outstanding pro bono service through individual representation and/or leadership in facilitating such representation by their colleagues.

Kelly Voss directs Covington’s pro bono program, facilitating meaningful pro bono engagement by her colleagues and collaborating with nonprofit organizations to find innovative ways to connect the firm’s resources to important needs in our local and global communities. Covington’s Washington, DC office has over 500 lawyers and a strong history of giving back. Read more →

Jun 18

2018

Tim Walsh Receives Making Justice Real Pro Bono Award

Last week, Legal Aid presented Tim Walsh of Pillsbury, with our Making Justice Real Pro Bono Award.

Legal Aid’s Making Justice Real Pro Bono Award recognizes attorneys who have provided outstanding pro bono service through individual representation and/or leadership in facilitating such representation by their colleagues.
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Jun 01

2018

Federal Court Issues Preliminary Injunction in Food Stamps Class Action

Yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a preliminary injunction against the D.C. Department of Human Services (DHS) requiring it to comply with strict federal time frames for processing applications to recertify eligibility for food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Court ordered this extraordinary remedy after finding that the agency’s own data showed that it failed to process 40 percent of SNAP renewal applications within the time period mandated by federal law. Although the Court declined, at this time, to order a preliminary injunction against DHS based on its delays in processing initial applications, it nevertheless ordered the agency to submit reports about its progress in this area, stating that injunctive relief might be appropriate in the absence of improvement. Read more →

May 23

2018

Divorce: Another Obstacle to Safety for Domestic Violence Survivors

“When can I get divorced?” I am often asked this question by married domestic violence survivors who meet me for the first time at the Superior Court’s Domestic Violence Intake Center, where Legal Aid attorneys are present four days a week to provide legal advice and assistance to individuals applying for Civil Protection Orders (CPOs) against their abusers. For many survivors of intimate partner violence, obtaining legal protection from abuse through a CPO is an important step towards securing their safety and independence. But, for those who are married to their batterers, it is the granting of a divorce – the severing of all legal and financial ties to one’s spouse – that represents and provides a more complete sense of freedom from abuse. Read more →

May 21

2018

Abusive “Rent Concession” Practices Threaten District’s Rent Control Program

Rent control is the District’s largest affordable housing program, covering more than 80,000 units and protecting hundreds of thousands of tenants from displacement. It also is a program under attack. Too often, landlords are able to take advantage of loopholes in existing law to impose large rent hikes, at times to levels far above market, forcing long-time residents out of their homes and eroding the long-term affordability of rent control units.

The Washington City Paper published an article last week highlighting an abusive practice that some landlords engage in once they take these large rent increases. Landlords will advertise and charge lower rent amounts, offering tenant “rent concessions”. Tenants are told that higher rent levels are on the books but will not be charged. But when it comes time to renew a tenant’s lease, many of these landlords threaten to impose the higher rent amount and coerce the tenant into agreeing to a rent increase far higher than what rent control ordinarily would allow. Read more →