Archives

Written by Adam Jacobs

Aug 19

2021

A Historic Increase in Food Stamps

This week, the US Department of Agriculture revised the nutrition standards of the Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits program, which will result in the largest permanent increase to SNAP benefits in the program’s history.

SNAP benefits have been a lifeline for needy families and instrumental in the fight against food insecurity. Indeed, for many Legal Aid clients these benefits are their only source of income for food. However, the benefit amounts have been inadequate to meet the nutritional needs of recipients and, until this week, had not been updated since 1975. Therefore, in 2020 the average cost of a meal for a modest diet was 22% higher than the maximum SNAP amount. Approximately 23% of SNAP households exhausted their SNAP benefits by the middle of the month with, on average, households spending three-quarters of their benefits within 14 days of receiving them. Read more →

Jun 15

2021

In Observance of Juneteenth

Annually on June 19th, communities across the country celebrate Juneteenth for it is the most popular celebration of emancipation from slavery in the United States. Juneteenth is also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, and Black Independence Day. Read more →

Jun 14

2021

New Resource about D.C. Tenants’ Rights

Though the majority of Legal Aid’s housing work is representing individual tenants in litigation or administrative proceedings, our housing unit’s work extends far beyond that. Legal Aid works in the community – presenting Know Your Rights events, collaborating with community-based organizations, and representing tenants’ associations. We have long known DC tenant communities are strong. We know tenant associations that stand up to unscrupulous landlordstenants that vocalize the need for tenant protections, and tenants that band together to exercise their rights under TOPA, or the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act. Read more →

Jun 11

2021

USDA withdraws harmful SNAP rule that would have cut off benefits for millions nationwide

On June 10, 2021, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) withdrew its proposed rule to revise categorical eligibility for SNAP. This represents a victory for SNAP recipients in the District and nationally, and is the result of critical economic justice advocacy by over a hundred thousand individuals and organizations, including the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia and Bread for the City. Read more →

May 04

2021

DC Among Jurisdictions with Highest Insured Rates in the Pandemic, But Still Room for Improvement

In a recent report, Families USA, a leading organization in health care advocacy, showed the devastating impact that lack of health insurance has on COVID-19 diagnosed cases and deaths at national, state, and county levels. Being uninsured is linked to a third of deaths from COVID, nationwide. The study found that an estimated 10.9 million diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in the United States from March 2020 to February 2021 were associated with a lack of insurance. Read more →

Mar 29

2021

Reflections of a Domestic Violence Attorney

More than a year ago, on March 13, 2020, our lives changed drastically. Seemingly overnight, stay-at-home orders were put in place and most of the country started working from home. Here, at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, we quickly shifted our practice from an in-person office setting to a virtual one. In the Domestic Violence/Family Law Unit, we had to figure out how to provide our services to domestic violence survivors under our new normal. Read more →

Mar 26

2021

USDA Withdraws Appeal in Legal Aid Lawsuit Challenging SNAP Rule

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (the USDA) withdrew its appeal of a decision last October from Judge Beryll Howell of the federal District Court of the District of Columbia vacating a USDA rule that would have cut off access to SNAP, otherwise known as food stamps, for nearly 700,000 Americans, including more than 13,000 DC residents. Legal Aid and Alston and Bird represented Bread for the City and two individual clients (Damon Smith and Geneva Tann) in a challenge to the rule that was combined with a similar suit filed by the District of Columbia on behalf of itself, nineteen states and New York City. Read more →

Mar 15

2021

Legal Aid Applauds the Passage of the American Rescue Plan Act Which Could Cut Child Poverty Rates in Half Nationwide and Lift Thousands of District Children Out of Poverty

On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act which will provide direct assistance to individuals and families (including a child allowance for low- and moderate-income families), continuation of unemployment benefits, funds to states and localities, and financial support for vaccinations and schools. Read more →

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 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 →