Feb 11


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


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 →

Jan 26


Steptoe Support Connects Tenants with Critical Legal Services in Wake of Pandemic

The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia is pleased to announce that Jamie Long has joined Legal Aid as the next Steptoe Housing Law Fellow!

As part of Legal Aid’s Housing Law Unit, Ms. Long represents low-income tenants to prevent evictions and preserve access to safe and affordable housing in the District.

“We are delighted that Ms. Long has chosen a career in public interest and that she will be serving as the next Steptoe Housing Law Fellow,” said Paul Lee, Pro Bono Counsel at Steptoe. “In supporting this fellowship at Legal Aid, our goal is to expand pro bono legal services available for the preservation of affordable housing in the District; continuing our long history of partnering with Legal Aid to serve our community. Ms. Long has shown that she is not only an effective advocate for her clients, but that she also inspires others with her passion for serving marginalized populations and those living in poverty.” Read more →

Jan 22


Former Legal Aider Curt D. Campbell, Jr. Selected as an Administrative Law Judge

We are delighted to announce that Curt D. Campbell, Jr., former Senior Staff Attorney in the Public Benefits Unit, has become an Administrative Law Judge in the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).  At OAH, Curt will hear cases involving public space, rent control, professional and business licenses, building, health and fire code violations, and public benefits such as SNAP (Food Stamps), Medicaid and Unemployment Insurance.

Read more →

Jan 08


Volunteering with Legal Aid During a Pandemic

My name is Alison DeSilva. I’m the owner and founder of DeSilva Studios, a DMV-Area-based pet & family photography studio. Given my background, my connection to Legal Aid probably seems unlikely. But when they reached out to me in August 2020 (through a friend of mine who supports Legal Aid) to see if I could help them with their annual report photography project, I jumped at the opportunity. Here’s my story and how helping Legal Aid’s mission became so important to me:
Read more →

Dec 28


COVID Relief Is Finally Coming: While Not Nearly Enough, Recent Federal Legislation Provides Support and Protections for Our Client Community

The Coronavirus Response And Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020 (the COVID relief legislation just passed by Congress and signed by the President) will provide some much-needed assistance in areas of importance to our client community.  Legal Aid is pleased that our clients (most of whom are Black and Brown, and have therefore disproportionately suffered from the economic and health burdens of this pandemic) will finally receive some relief from the federal government after far too many months of inaction and additional delays in recent days leading to the loss of unemployment benefits for millions nationwide.

Read more →

Dec 18


Last Chance To File – Federal Unemployment Benefits End on December 26

As coronavirus cases surge across the country and many workplaces remain closed, the U.S. Congress has failed to extend critical benefits for unemployed workers. In fact, approximately 39,000 unemployment recipients in the District will lose all benefits the day after Christmas.

As we wrote earlier this year, unemployment compensation is a critical safety net for jobless workers. It can allow District workers to pay for basic necessities – such as food, shelter, and medical care – and avoid falling into poverty. There is no cash assistance alternative to unemployment compensation. Legal Aid urgently calls upon Congress to extend these essential benefits and encourages District workers to act now to take advantage of these programs before they expire (see below). Read more →

Dec 11


Action Needed to Stop Ice Detentions at DC Courthouse

Within a week, the District’s immigrant community may finally get permanent protection against ICE detention after contact with local law enforcement. On December 15, 2020, the DC Council is scheduled to vote on the Sanctuary Values Act, which would make permanent an emergency law passed in 2019. If passed, this law could lift some of the terror our immigrant neighbors and their families have faced for many years. Read more →

Nov 16


Legal Aid Receives Record $750,000 Donation from Amazon to Expand COVID-19 Response

Amazon has donated $750,000 to immediately help the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia support the surge of families and individuals facing urgent legal needs amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Funding will help Legal Aid hire new legal staff to provide legal assistance for scores more DC residents facing legal problems related to the pandemic, including eviction, foreclosure, debt, unemployment, and more.

Read more →

Nov 12


DC Bar Foundation to Honor Beth Mellen with the Scoutt Prize

This week, Legal Aid’s Beth Mellen, a Supervising Attorney in the Housing Law Unit and the Director of Legal Aid’s Eviction Defense Project, will be honored by the DC Bar Foundation with the Scoutt Prize for her skills as “a fierce courtroom advocate, a compassionate client advisor, a dedicated mentor to younger lawyers, a skilled manager, and an accomplished leader of housing policy reform.”

During Beth’s fifteen years as a Legal Aid attorney, she has been a dedicated advocate for housing rights across the District. Her knowledge of local and federal housing law, combined with her advocacy skills, has preserved safe, affordable housing for hundreds of residents in DC.

“For years, Beth has been a fierce, thoughtful, effective advocate for tenants in the District of Columbia. This is an incredibly well-deserved recognition,” says Eric Angel, Executive Director of Legal Aid. Read more →