Archives

Blog

Sep 27

2022

Emergency Legislation Creating Services for Migrants Excludes Many of DC’s Immigrant Residents from Homeless Services

Traducción al español al final

On September 20, 2022, the DC Council approved the “Migrant Services and Supports Emergency Amendment Act of 2022.” The emergency legislation creates an Office of Migrant Services to provide temporary support and services to migrants being bused from the southern border to the District by GOP governors. However, it also makes deeply problematic changes to DC homeless law that could prevent immigrants (not just recent migrants) from getting help from the District when they fall into homelessness or face a housing crisis. While the emergency legislation will be in effect for 90 days following the Mayor’s signature, the Council is also considering similar permanent legislation, and it is crucial that Councilmembers fix the problems with both bills as soon as possible. A public hearing on the permanent bill is scheduled for October 20, 2022. Read more →

Sep 16

2022

The District Must Do Far Better than Mayor Bowser’s Migrant Services and Supports Emergency Act of 2022

Traducción al español al final

For months, the governors of Arizona and Texas have been busing migrants from the southwest border to the District to protest federal immigration policies that limit their ability to turn people away at the border. Just yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott arranged for two buses of migrants to be dropped off outside of Vice President Kamala Harris’s residence in a publicity-seeking act of racism and xenophobia with callous disregard for the migrants’ human rights and dignity. Read more →

Aug 08

2022

Making Justice Real Campaign Raises $3.3 Million for DC Legal Aid

For the third-consecutive year, DC’s legal community came together to raise more than $3 million for DC Legal Aid through the Making Justice Real Campaign, setting a new record at $3,305,388. Nearly half of the total was raised in the last week of the two-month drive, which ran from June 6 to August 5.

“It is incredibly humbling for thousands of people from nearly every major law firm in the District to unite behind Legal Aid’s mission,” said Joan McKown, President of Legal Aid’s Board of Trustees and a Partner at Jones Day. “Especially at a time of increasing need for our client community, this is unbelievably good news.” Read more →

Jul 25

2022

DC Council Committees Must Approve the Domestic Worker Protections Bill This Fall

Legal Aid is deeply concerned about Chair Mendelson’s recent decision to change the committee referral for the Domestic Worker Employment Rights Amendment Act of 2022 (Bill 24-712). As a strong supporter of the Domestic Worker Employment Rights bill, we believe his re-referral could effectively stall the bill’s progress during the final year of Council Period 24. This triple referral causes an unnecessary delay that will hurt essential workers, such as home health aides, to whom we regularly provide direct legal services. Legal Aid urges Business Committee Chairman McDuffie and Government Operations Committee Chairman Robert White to consider and mark up the measure immediately (September or October) when the Council returns from recess so that the Council can pass the bill before the end of the year. Read more →

Jun 10

2022

DC Council Passes Landmark Debt Collection Law

The District of Columbia will soon have in place what may be the most progressive law in the nation protecting consumers from unfair and abusive debt collection practices.

On June 7, 2022, the DC Council passed the Protecting Consumers from Unjust Debt Collection Practices Amendment Act of 2021 (B24-0357). The new law now awaits the Mayor’s signature and a congressional review period before becoming applicable on January 1, 2023. In the meantime, the Council already has put in place an emergency version of the law, which it also voted to extend at the June 7 legislative meeting. Read more →

Jun 08

2022

D.C. Courts Recognize 4,500+ Lawyers on 2021 Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll

Congratulations to the members of the 2021 Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll!

On June 1, the D.C. Courts, in partnership with the D.C. Access to Justice Commission and the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, published the 2021 Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll, recognizing 4,572 District attorneys who provided 50+ hours of pro bono service during 2021, with more than half of them providing over 100 hours of service, qualifying them for the High Honor Roll. Read more →

Jun 06

2022

The District Must Open its Homeowner Assistance Fund Immediately and Extend the Foreclosure Moratorium to Protect Homeowners Waiting on Federal Assistance Funds

The District’s foreclosure moratorium for owner-occupied homes is set to expire on June 30, but the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF), which will provide $50 million in federal funds to help DC homeowners catch up on their mortgages and other housing-related payments, is still not open. This unacceptable delay leaves homeowners who have struggled in the wake of the pandemic and the uneven economic recovery at risk of losing their homes — even though there is funding available to help them. The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has had 5 months since the Federal Government approved its plan for using these funds, and the delay makes DC one of the last jurisdictions in the country to fully open its HAF program. DCHD must open HAF now so that homeowners can access these potentially life-changing funds. Meanwhile, the DC Council should pass emergency legislation extending the foreclosure moratorium and strengthening protections for homeowners who submit applications once the program is open. These steps are crucial to preventing DC residents from needlessly losing their homes due to the DC Government’s continued struggle to get help to them. Read more →

Jun 06

2022

Tenants Win a Legal Battle to Protect Their Rights Under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act

Recently the DC Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a group of tenants who have been fighting for years to protect their rights under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA). DC Council first passed TOPA in 1980. Back then, like today, DC was facing an affordable housing crisis. For over forty years, TOPA has continued to serve DC tenants—particularly low-income tenants—helping them fight displacement and maintain at least some control over the future of their homes. The ruling from the Court of Appeals last week protects the power of TOPA for DC tenants. Read more →

Jun 01

2022

DC Council Bill Seeks to Create Abortion & LGBTQ+ Healthcare Sanctuary

Earlier this month, Councilmember Brianne Nadeau and nine of her colleagues introduced the “Human Rights Sanctuary Amendment Act of 2022,” which would, in Councilmember Nadeau’s words, “protect[] the rights of District residents to live with whom they please, love whom they love, and control their reproductive destinies. It makes the District a safe haven for trans youth who need gender-affirming care, LGBTQ+ individuals who need to preserve their families, and all people who need reproductive freedom to flourish as meaningful participants in American life.” Read more →

Apr 21

2022

The Connection Between Health and Wealth: Recent Report Highlights the Impact of Medical Debt on Black Families

A recent report from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) examines the racial health and wealth gaps and highlights the impact of medical debt on Black families. The report provides a sobering explanation of how disparities in healthcare and medical debt are a result of underlying, pervasive racial inequality. Unfortunately, these issues and impacts are all too familiar to District residents and Legal Aid’s client community. Read more →