Making Justice Real

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

Jul 13

2021

Legal Aid and Other Advocates Call for More Time as DC Council Votes Today on Legislation to Wind Down Eviction Protections

Today the DC Council will consider emergency legislation to wind down eviction protections that have been in place throughout the pandemic.  The proposal, drafted by Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, would allow actual evictions to move forward immediately, following a 30-day notice to tenants; allow landlords to serve past due rent notices on tenants immediately and to serve pre-court notices for other eviction grounds starting on September 26; and allow landlords to file new eviction cases for nonpayment of rent on October 12 and other types of eviction cases on January 1.

The backdrop for this legislation is Mayor Muriel Bowser’s announcement that she will not extend the public health emergency declaration, meaning eviction protections tied to that declaration will expire sooner if the Council does not act.  While we appreciate the difficult position that the Mayor’s announcement puts the Council in, we urge Councilmembers to pass amendments to the bill to make sure that tenants are not evicted unnecessarily during the transition out of emergency protections.  Yesterday, Legal Aid and several of our advocacy partners sent a sign-on letter to the Council outlining our request to provide for more time and include other technical amendments.   Read more →

Jul 07

2021

The Family Law Assistance Network reaches 1,000 referrals!

The Family Law Assistance Network (FLAN)–a partnership between Legal Aid, The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, and the D.C. Affordable Law Firm– has reached a milestone of 1,000 referrals since its start in March 2020.  

The FLAN was first conceptualized in early 2019, when attorneys from the partner organizations collaborated to create a court-based program to provide same-day advice and representation for litigants with cases in the Domestic Relations Branch (DRB) of D.C. Superior Court. Many other branches, like the Parentage and Child Support Branch and the Domestic Violence Division, already offered similar services, so the attorneys saw a need that was not being met. 

Read more →

Jul 02

2021

Attorney General Restores Asylum Law Protections For Survivors Of Violence

Legal Aid clients seek asylum and refuge in the United States for highly personal and compelling reasons. Some were targeted with severe violence, persecution, and torture based on their gender and/or status as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Others may have been attacked and threatened with death by powerful gangs because of who their family members are. We are thrilled that Attorney General Merrick Garland took an important first step last week towards undoing some of the Trump administration’s relentless attacks on asylum law by overturning biased and xenophobic rulings from former Attorneys General Sessions and Barr in cases called Matter of A-B- and Matter of L-E-A-. These cases made sweeping generalizations attempted to close the door to protection for everyone fleeing gang violence, domestic abuse, or harm based on gender. 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 →