Written by Adam Jacobs

Apr 17


Mayor Proposes Cuts to Already Underfunded Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Mayor’s FY19 budget proposes to slash the Emergency Rental Assistance Program’s (ERAP) budget by $1.765 million. After accounting for a similar cut to ERAP last year, this means that there will be over $3 million fewer dollars available to prevent families from being evicted than there were two years ago. This is unacceptable and cruel. As attorneys who work with District residents facing eviction, we see first-hand that ERAP is perhaps the District’s most effective eviction-prevention tool. Yet, even at current funding levels, the program runs out of money and shuts down partway through each fiscal year because it is woefully underfunded. As I made clear in Legal Aid’s testimony at the Department of Human Services’ budget hearing last week, the Mayor’s proposed budget will take an effective program that is already facing a serious budgetary shortfall and make things worse. Read more →

Apr 12


Legal Aid Opposes Administration Efforts to Condition Public Benefits on Work

Legal Aid submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture this week opposing a Trump Administration proposal that would impose work requirements on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or Food Stamps) recipients. The Administration’s proposed changes to SNAP are part of a coordinated effort, across multiple federal agencies, that will do little to promote work and will instead make it harder for already struggling individuals and families to support themselves. Read more →

Apr 05


My Reflection on the March for Our Lives Rally

On March 24, 2018, a group of Legal Aid attorneys gathered to attend the March for Our Lives. We were joined by a client and her three teenage children. After the March, our client’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Jade, wrote about her experience, and how she is inspired to take action in her community.

Jade’s mother came to Legal Aid for assistance obtaining a Civil Protection Order against her husband, who was showing signs of mental illness and threatening our client and their children. With Legal Aid by her side, she obtained a Civil Protection Order which grants her custody of the children, and orders no visitation for her husband. Read more →

Mar 09


Congratulations to Chinh Le on his Community Service Award

Chinh Le, Legal Aid’s Legal Director for the past seven years, was recognized by the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund (AEF) last night with its Community Service Award, which recognizes the work of an organization or individual who has tirelessly served the Asian Pacific American community in the greater Washington, DC area.

“Thank you to AEF and all of you for this honor,” Chinh told the nearly 200 attendees. “I don’t deserve it, but I’ll do what I can to earn it.” Read more →

Feb 26


Abusers and Firearms: A Deadly Combination

Recent incidents in Maryland have reminded us just how critical it is to help domestic violence survivors get to safety.

Last week, a Prince George’s County police officer was shot and killed as he stood guard while a domestic violence survivor attempted to flee. The survivor had filed for a protection order just days earlier and was in the process of having the locks changed at her home when her abuser appeared, threatened her, and shot the officer. The abuser had a history of domestic violence; his ex-wife had filed for protection orders against him several times in the past. Read more →

Jan 24


Court Rules Change Makes It More Likely Tenants Will Seek Repairs

The D.C. Superior Court has made a much-needed change to rules that apply in eviction actions. Effective November 21, 2017, tenants are no longer subject to money judgments just because they raise the defenses of recoupment and set-off based on housing code violations, or because they ask the Court to order their landlords to make repairs. Read more →

Nov 14


Prescription Drug Plan Enrollment Assistance Available Through December 5

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but prescription drug plans are so delightful…

The holiday season is fast approaching, and at Legal Aid that means it’s time for Medicare Part D open enrollment. For the eleventh year in a row, Legal Aid and Whitman-Walker Health are hosting walk-in clinics for Medicare Part D recipients to enroll in 2018 prescription drug plans. Read more →

Oct 05


Fake News Targets Child Support

One of Legal Aid’s very own practice areas has become the subject of a widespread “fake news” story. Last month, articles and posts began circulating on social media, informing readers that child support would be ending in 2018. One article – which has been shared over 50,000 times on Facebook – claimed that Congress and the current administration were working to pass a law which would prevent parents from being ordered to pay support. Another article included a purported quote from President Trump, and reported that custodial parents have been protesting outside the White House. Read more →

Jul 26


Legal Aid’s Interns Listen and Learn from Justice Ginsburg

Eleven law and undergraduate student interns are spending their summer with us here at Legal Aid, and earlier this week they had the rare opportunity to listen and learn from the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, at the Washington Council of Lawyer’s (WCL) annual Summer Pro Bono and Public Interest Forum and luncheon. Read more →

Jul 17


“D.C.” Does Not Stand for “Debt Collection”: Legal Aid Pushes for Better Protections Against Debt Collection Abuses

Dealing with debt collectors has become a widespread problem for consumers both locally and across the nation. Based on an extensive survey of D.C. residents published in 2016, almost half of low-income residents reported problems with debt—and of the survey participants with debt-related problems, the most common problem cited (31%) was receiving calls from debt collectors. Moreover, in the first-ever national survey of consumer experiences with debt collectors, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that 27% of consumers contacted by debt collectors felt threatened, 53% of consumers said at least one collection effort was mistaken in some way, and one in seven consumers contacted about a debt reported being sued. Read more →