Making Justice Real

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

Mar 08

2021

New Hotline at OAH Provides Help to Pro Se Litigants

In the early months of the pandemic, the Office of Administrative Hearings Legal Assistance Network (OLAN) was created by four legal services organizations to address the legal needs of individuals representing themselves (also known as pro se litigants) before the D.C. Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). The network includes Bread for the City, the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, Legal Counsel for the Elderly, and Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. OLAN is a referral hotline that connects pro se litigants who have pending public benefits and shelter-related cases before OAH with free attorneys. Read more →

Feb 19

2021

2020 CAPITAL PRO BONO HONOR ROLL SUBMISSIONS DUE MARCH 15!

The pandemic has taken its toll on all of us. But since it first reached the District nearly a year ago, Legal Aid’s client community has been hit the hardest. And as stay-at-home orders were issued and schools and workplaces shut down across the city, our neighbors struggled to both stay safe and make ends meet. Unemployment claims skyrocketed, domestic violence surged, and housing and food insecurity rose sharply. Never has Legal Aid faced such profound challenges.

That is why we are so grateful to the hundreds of attorneys throughout the city who took on pro bono cases in 2020, helping clients secure critical safety-net benefits, navigate complex custody disputes exacerbated by the pandemic, ensure that landlords made needed repairs, and more. Read more →

Feb 18

2021

Critical Foreclosure Prevention Program Reopens for District Homeowners

The DC Housing Finance Agency (HFA) has recently announced the reopening of HomeSaver, a foreclosure prevention program that provides payment assistance to DC homeowners who are behind on their mortgage or other housing-related payments. For qualified homeowners, HomeSaver provides up to $60,000 in lump-sum catch-up assistance and/or ongoing monthly payment assistance. Homeowners may qualify if they experienced an eligible hardship, and are either (1) unemployed or underemployed and no more than 16 months behind on their payments, or (2) able to afford their regular monthly payments going forward but need help paying arrears.

Homeowners should apply now, as funds are limited and applications will only be accepted through May 14. Read more →

Feb 11

2021

Legal Aid Testifies Before the Council and Joins Amicus Filing In Support of Emergency Eviction Protections During the Pandemic

This past Thursday, the D.C. Council’s Committees on Judiciary and Public Safety, Housing and Executive Administrative, and Human Services held a joint public oversight roundtable to examine the impact of emergency legislation that was enacted in the early months of the pandemic to protect tenants from actual evictions, new eviction case filings, and new eviction notices.  The aim of these measures was to keep as many District residents as possible in stable housing throughout the pandemic, preventing displacement and additional spread of COVID-19. Read more →

Feb 01

2021

Administration’s Strike Force Charged With Tackling Eviction and Affordable Housing Crisis Is Stacked With Landlord and Developer Representatives

On Friday, Mayor Bowser announced the composition of the “Saving DC’s Rental Housing Market Strike Force.” Despite being tasked with making recommendations to prevent eviction and increase the supply of affordable housing, twelve out of the Strike Force’s eighteen non-government members represent landlords, developers, or their interests. Only three members represent tenants or their interests. Legal Aid is concerned by the lack of tenant voices, eviction defense lawyers, homeless services providers, and tenant organizers on the Strike Force. If the Strike Force’s recommendations are to be given any weight or treated with any seriousness, the Mayor must fix this gross imbalance. Read more →