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Updated 8/22/2018

Since 1977, the DC Bar Foundation has awarded grants to the District’s civil legal aid network totaling more than $50 million in funding. The Foundation provides both general support and project-based grants in numerous categories. Project-based grants fund the positions of upwards of 50 legal aid providers supporting low-income residents of Washington, DC, while general support grants are unrestricted funds to cover costs incurred from running these projects. As of July 1, 2018, the Foundation has $9,295,472 invested in the community.

 

CIVIL ISSUES IN CRIMINAL MATTERS – $110,000

 

  1. Expungement Clinic

Through the Expungement Clinic, DC Law Students in Court provides legal assistance to low-income District residents who have a criminal arrest, charge, or conviction that they wish to seal. Even if they were never charged for or convicted of a crime, individuals may have a criminal record, making it more difficult to secure a job or housing, pursue education, and receive public assistance. The Expungement Clinic’s attorneys work closely with eligible low-income District residents to seal their record and increase their chance at securing the basic components of a prosperous life.

 

  1. General Support: Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project

The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project provides civil legal and investigative services to indigent prisoners in DC who were convicted of crimes they did not commit. The organization helps wrongfully evicted individuals clear their record and receive compensation for the years of wrongful imprisonment.

 

CONSUMER LAW – $176,000

 

  1. Consumer Law Court-Based Legal Services Project

Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia provides access to same-day representation in debt collection cases in an effort to protect the limited income and assets of low-income DC residents. The project places legal aid attorneys at DC Superior Court to serve low-income pro se litigants in debt collection matters before the Small Claims Court and the civil collections calendar.

 

  1. Direct Legal Services in Debt Cases

Tzedek DC assists low-income DC residents in debt-related legal matters. Tzedek DC helps residents avoid the effects of a negative court judgment and bad credit report, such as losing their driver’s license, seizure of their bank account, impossible payment plans, and the inability to obtain employment. Tzedek DC also conducts community outreach by partnering with the United Planning Organization in Ward 7, where approximately 9,380 households are headed by a single female.

 

  1. General Support: Tzedek DC

 Tzedek DC provides legal assistance to low-income DC residents dealing with often unjust, abusive, and illegal debt collection practices, as well as other consumer protection problems like credit reporting issues, identity theft, and predatory lending.

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE/VICTIMS’ RIGHTS – $510,000

 

  1. Domestic Violence Community Legal Services Project

Bread for the City’s Domestic Violence Community Legal Services Project provides legal aid, including civil protection orders, divorce, child custody, and public benefits, to low-income District residents who are experiencing violence.

 

  1. Domestic Violence Underserved Communities Holistic Representation Project

Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia provides focused outreach and legal aid to domestic violence survivors in poor and underserved communities in DC. The project attorneys have also established an office at the Domestic Violence Intake Center located in DC Superior Court.

 

  1. Empowerment Project

The Amara Legal Center provides free legal aid to individuals whose rights have been violated by involvement in commercial sex, regardless of reason for entry into commercial sex. The project’s attorney provides legal assistance in the areas of child custody and support, civil protection orders, public benefits, crime victims’ compensation, and record sealing.

 

  1. General Support: Amara Legal Center

The Amara Legal Center serves individuals whose rights have been violated while involved in commercial sex, by assisting with legal matters such as civil protection orders, custody cases, divorce, and records sealing and expungement.

 

  1. General Support: Break the Cycle

Break the Cycle serves young people aged 12 to 24 who are survivors of dating abuse, domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. Break the Cycle provides legal assistance in matters such as protection or restraining orders, child custody, visitation, child support, divorce, criminal case advocacy, and Title IX advocacy.

 

  1. General Support: DC Volunteer Lawyers’ Project

The DC Volunteer Lawyers Project provides free legal representation to domestic violence victims, at-risk children, and other low-income individuals in the District with urgent family law needs.

 

  1. General Support: Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment & Appeals Project

Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment & Appeals Project works on domestic violence issues on the appellate level, attempting to give victims, who are denied justice at the trial level, the resources to appeal, improve outcomes for victims and the fairness of trial proceedings, and advance the law on behalf of victims by developing strong legal precedents.

 

  1. General Support: Network for Victim Recovery of DC

The Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC) aims to change the impact of victimization by providing holistic, comprehensive services to all crime victims in DC. NVRDC staff attorneys offer representation in sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, and stalking cases.

 

  1. Representation for Domestic Violence Victims

DC Volunteer Lawyers Project (DCVLP) represents domestic violence survivors in civil protection orders, custody, child support, and divorce matters. DCVLP utilizes a network of volunteer attorneys to address the severe shortage of free legal assistance for low-income people in the District who have urgent family law needs.

 

EDUCATION – $237,000

 

  1. Direct Representation & Systemic Advocacy

The School Justice Project (SJP) protects and advocates for the special education rights of court-involved students, ages 17 to 22, during incarceration and throughout reintegration. SJP attorneys work to increase access to appropriate special education in order to improve educational, employment, and life outcomes for this traditionally excluded student population.

 

  1. General Support: Advocates for Justice and Education

Advocates for Justice and Education received continued funding to address the increasing demand for legal representation and support in suspension and expulsion proceedings. The project provides on-site free legal assistance (information, advice and counsel, and/or brief services) to parents, guardians, or students at student disciplinary hearings before the Office of Administrative Hearings.

 

  1. General Support: School Justice Project

The School Justice Project serves older students with special education needs who are involved in DC’s justice systems by providing legal assistance on such issues as access to a quality education, re-entry services and policies, and the advocacy of individualized, less-restrictive alternatives to pretrial detention and jail terms.

 

  1. School Discipline/Office of Administrative Hearings Extended Project

Advocates for Justice and Education addresses the increasing demand for legal representation and support in suspension and expulsion proceedings. The project provides on-site free legal assistance (information, advice and counsel, and/or brief services) to parents, guardians, or students at student disciplinary hearings before the Office of Administrative Hearings.

 

EMPLOYMENT – $310,000

 

  1. Employment Justice Project

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, through its Employment Justice Project, assists DC low-income workers recover stolen wages, fight discrimination, and ensure they receive their lawful wages by hosting clinics, conducting outreach, providing rights training, and representing clients.

 

  1. General Support: Employment Justice Project 

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs received general support for its Employment Justice Project, listed above.

 

  1. Latina Outreach Project

First Shift Justice Project (FSJP) runs the Latina Outreach Project to prevent unlawful job loss among low-income pregnant Latina women and new Latina mothers. FSJP works with Latina women and aims to prevent job loss. FSJP proactively reaches out to pregnant women to request pregnancy accommodations at work before they lose their jobs.

 

FAMILY LAW – $298,500

 

  1. Child Support Community Legal Services Project

The Child Support Community Legal Services Project, run by Bread for the City and Legal Aid Society of DC, maintains a court-based legal services office at the Paternity & Support Branch of the DC Superior Court. The attorneys improve individual outcomes for custodial and noncustodial parents in their child support cases, enhance the fairness of the court process, and increase the efficiency of the Paternity & Support Branch.

 

General Services – $1,064,000

 

  1. Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy Project 

The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia’s Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy Project represents clients in appellate matters, assisting legal services lawyers in representing their clients and guiding trial courts in adjudicating the rights of litigants in poverty who remain unrepresented.

 

  1. Brief Services Unit

At Neighborhood Legal Services Program’s Brief Services Unit, attorneys perform an initial diagnosis of legal problems and provide advice or brief service, when such limited assistance may be sufficient, to enable the individual to resolve the problem. The beneficiaries of the project are low-income DC residents living in Wards 5, 7, and 8.

 

  1. General Support: Bread for the City

Bread for the City is a holistic services provider based in two sites – Shaw and Southeast – that provides free legal advice and representation in the areas of housing, family, and public benefits law.

 

  1. General Support: Catholic Charities Legal Network

The Catholic Charities Legal Network offers low-income DC residents access to free legal services in the following areas: employment, consumer, family law, landlord-tenant, public entitlements, wills, and probate.

 

  1. General Support: DC Law Students in Court

DC Law Students in Court provides free legal assistance to low-income residents of Washington, DC, while training third-year law students to protect the rights of the less fortunate in the District.

 

  1. General Support: Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia provides representation, assistance, and advocacy on behalf of individuals and families living in poverty in four major practice areas: domestic violence and family law, public benefits, housing, and consumer law.

 

 

  1. General Support: Neighborhood Legal Services Program

Neighborhood Legal Services Program provides free civil legal services to low-income residents of DC, in the areas of consumer, housing, family, domestic violence, employment, health care, and public benefits.

 

  1. Polk Street Office

Neighborhood Legal Services Program’s (NLSP) office located in the Northeast neighborhood of Deanwood provides neighborhood-based legal aid in the areas of housing, family law, and public benefits. Staff attorneys are physically located at NLSP’s office on Polk Street NE to provide low-income residents of this underserved community with free and accessible legal assistance.

 

  1. Southeast Neighborhood Access and Underserved Needs Project

At Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia’s office in Anacostia, attorneys assist Ward 7 and 8 residents with a range of civil legal issues, such as domestic violence and family law, public benefits, housing, and consumer law.

 

General Services to a Specific Population – $532,200

 

  1. DC Jail and Prison Advocacy Project

Disability Rights DC at University Legal Services (ULS) serves as DC’s federally mandated protection and advocacy organization charged with working for the rights of people with disabilities. ULS attorneys provide legal aid and direct advocacy for inmates in the DC Jail and other DC correctional facilities with mental disabilities. Their attorneys work closely with the DC Department of Corrections, the DC Department of Mental Health, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons regarding DC prisoners.

 

  1. General Support: Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center

The Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center provides linguistically accessible and culturally appropriate legal services to low-income Asian Americans with limited English proficiency on abuse prevention, employment, family, housing, immigration, and health and disability.

 

  1. General Support: Ayuda

Ayuda provides free legal services in immigration, domestic violence, and sexual assault, as well as runs the Community Legal Interpreter Bank.

 

  1. General Support: Children’s Law Center

The Children’s Law Center provides direct legal services to low-income children and families in DC in order to break the cycle of poverty.

 

  1. General Support: Christian Legal Aid of the District of Columbia

Christian Legal Aid of the District of Columbia provides free legal services to low-income individuals and families from a faith-based perspective primarily through their three legal aid clinics in Washington, DC.

 

  1. General Support: Legal Counsel for the Elderly

Legal Counsel for the Elderly provides free legal representation and related advocacy services to low-income DC residents 60 years of age or older in a number of practice areas, including guardianship, consumer protection, foreclosure, and landlord-tenant disputes.

 

  1. Homeless Legal Connect

Christian Legal Aid of the District of Columbia staffs and manages its monthly intake center based at Central Union Mission, a men’s homeless shelter and social service agency located in Ward 6. Staff attorneys and volunteer attorneys staff the clinic, providing legal assistance in various matters such as housing, public benefits, expungements, estate planning, and family law. About 50 percent of the clinic’s clients are homeless, while the remainder are low-income residents of Wards 6, 7, and 8.

 

  1. Project HELP (D.C. Homebound Elderly Project)

Legal Counsel for the Elderly assists low-income, homebound elders in need of wills, advance directives, and public benefits audits, as well as those affected by consumer scams and housing-related issues. The Project HELP attorney also draws support from a pool of pro bono attorneys and other volunteer professionals to provide increased legal aid to homebound seniors.

 

  1. Transgender Project

Whitman-Walker Health assists DC’s large transgender population on a variety of legal issues including discrimination in the workplace, at school, in housing, and in health care; public benefits; immigration; private health insurance; and obtaining accurate identity documents. The project serves transgender clients seeking assistance at its name and gender change clinic.

 

 

HEALTH & DISABILITY – $710,000

 

  1. DC Prisoners’ Project

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs’ DC Prisoners’ Project provides legal services to DC prisoners incarcerated in DC and federal facilities.

 

  1. General Support: Whitman-Walker Health

Whitman-Walker Health provides pro bono legal advice and representation including private health and disability insurance, employment and healthcare discrimination, public benefits, immigration, wills, health care, and financial powers of attorney, regardless of HIV status, sexual orientation, and gender.

 

  1. Healthy Together Medical Legal Partnership in Northeast DC

Children’s Law Center runs a medical-legal partnership with Unity Healthcare’s Minnesota Avenue clinic in Northeast DC. Attorneys work with the clinic’s doctors to identify and address each young patient’s legal needs, such as substandard housing conditions, unmet educational needs, and lack of access to health care for urgent medical episodes.

 

  1. Healthy Together Medical Legal Partnership in Southeast DC & Generations Project

Children’s Law Center received continued funding for its medical-legal partnership with the Children’s National Medical Center’s Healthy Together Southeast and Generations program that focuses on teen parents and their children. The project provides legal representation on a wide range of issues and health outcomes for children born to teen parents.

 

  1. Jenny Hatch Justice Project

Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities provides representation for District residents with disabilities who are facing overbroad or undue guardianships. The project’s attorneys help those in this situation by teaching them about alternatives such as supported decision-making, powers of attorney, advance directives, and other supports and services designed to protect and increase individual independence and self-determination.

 

  1. Max Robinson Center

Whitman-Walker Health (WWH) provides legal representation, counseling, and outreach to people living with HIV/AIDS and other low-income residents in Wards 7 and 8 through lawyers based at its Max Robinson Center in Southeast DC. WWH offers its free legal aid to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in DC, regardless of HIV status, and to health care patients at WWH regardless of sexual orientation, HIV status, or gender identity.

 

  1. Pro Bono Coordinator/Mental Health Advocate

Disability Rights DC at University Legal Services is the protection and advocacy agency for DC and is the primary provider of legal and non-legal advocacy services for individuals with disabilities. The Pro Bono Coordinator/Mental Health Advocate position assists individuals with mental health disabilities by filing grievances, referring cases to pro bono attorneys, and using other forms of advocacy to resolve rights violations.

 

HOUSING – $4,842,272

 

  1. Affordable Housing Initiative

Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless represents tenant associations through the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act and zoning processes in order to preserve affordable housing and ensure that the zoning process leads to maximum number of truly affordable units for low-income residents. The attorneys also represent individual tenants in conditions-related cases.

 

  1. Community Lawyering Project

Bread for the City received continued funding for its community lawyering work located at its site on Good Hope Road SE. The project’s attorneys work directly with the community to help identify options to tackle issues affecting its residents and, when needed, provide substantial direct representation to the residents. The project focuses on preserving affordable housing and housing conditions.

 

  1. Community Preservation Project

Through their Community Preservation Project, Bread for the City and Legal Aid Society of DC combat the causes of affordable housing loss due to significant rent increases, termination of government subsidies, sale of properties, conversion to condominiums, and unsafe conditions. The two organizations work in tandem on one property: while one organization represents the property’s tenant association, the other organization represents individual tenants in other landlord-tenant issues, such as housing conditions and wrongful evictions.

 

  1. Creating Partnerships & Leveraging Resources to Prevent Eviction

Neighborhood Legal Services Program received new funding to greatly increase their capacity to accept referrals from the court-based eviction defense projects, as well as to conduct intake near the sites of properties that have building-wide evictions. NLSP has extensive community-based experience in providing housing-related legal assistance to low-income DC residents, which will enhance the impact of court-based eviction defense projects.

 

  1. Eviction Defense Practice

The DC Bar Pro Bono Center received new funding to hire attorneys for its Landlord-Tenant Resource Center, which has assisted DC residents in eviction defense cases at the Landlord-Tenant Court since 2008. Supplemented by rotating volunteer attorneys, the Landlord-Tenant Resource Center serves as one of the entry points for many low-income DC residents facing eviction.

 

  1. Eviction Prevention Initiative

DC Law Students in Court (DCLSIC) received funding to place several housing attorneys in DC Superior Court to provide low-income tenants with free-same day representation in eviction cases. These attorneys will also formally collaborate with Neighborhood Legal Services Program on a referral-basis, as well as other court-based providers. DCLSIC will continue to leverage their impact by utilizing law students to conduct outreach to low-income DC residents facing evictions and to assist with eviction cases.

 

  1. Foreclosure Prevention Project (Legal Aid Society of DC)

Under two of DCBF grant programs, Legal Aid Society of DC provides representation to low-income DC residents in foreclosure cases. Their attorneys are present in court every week for the call of the judicial foreclosure calendar to provide information and assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure.

 

  1. Foreclosure Prevention Project (Legal Counsel for the Elderly)

Legal Counsel for the Elderly’s Foreclosure Prevention Project attorneys staff the judicial foreclosure calendar every week to provide information and assistance to elderly homeowners facing foreclosure.

 

  1. General Support: Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless

Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless provides advice, counsel, and direct representation to the homeless or those at-risk of becoming homeless on a broad range of civil legal issues.

 

  1. Healthy Together Housing Conditions

Children’s Law Center received new funding to base attorneys at their children’s health clinic partners, focusing particularly on areas with high asthma rates and poverty rates in Northeast and Northwest DC. The project’s attorneys will provide legal assistance to low-income DC families whose children’s health problems – such as asthma – are caused by housing instability or harmful housing conditions. The project’s goals are to improve children’s health, so they can attend school regularly and receive a meaningful education, rather than spending time in the hospital for health issues related to housing conditions and instability.

 

  1. Housing Advocacy for People with Mental Illness Project

University Legal Services (ULS) received new funding to provide legal assistance to individuals with disabilities who have been denied reasonable accommodations, need home health aides, or are discriminated against based on a disability for housing. ULS will also assess and report on the current capacity of the Department of Behavioral Health, conduct outreach and trainings, and monitor the accessibility and quality of services provided in community residential facilities.

 

  1. Housing and Community Development Project

The Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center (APALRC) is the region’s legal advocate for the legal and civil rights of Asian Americans in the Washington metropolitan area. Through the Housing and Community Development Project, APALRC received continued funding to provide legal assistance to the District’s low-income Asian immigrants with limited-English proficiency regarding evictions, threats, illegal rent increase, and bad housing conditions, as well as illegal relocation, denial of access to housing applications, and lack of language access in Section 8 housing developments.

 

  1. Housing Cooperative Preservation Initiative

Through its Housing Cooperative Preservation Initiative Project, Neighborhood Legal Services Program preserves tenant-owned limited equity cooperatives (LECs). The project’s attorneys assist tenant groups to develop and maintain their LEC’s administrative infrastructure and governance, advise on regulatory compliance, and provide on-going legal advice to LEC board of directors. The project’s goal is to prevent problems that may cause these affordable housing cooperatives to convert to market rate housing.

 

  1. Housing Justice Advocacy Project

The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia received new funding to represent tenants and tenant associations in building-wide cases, as part of a larger housing preservation network that includes Bread for the City, Washington Lawyers’ Committee, and Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. This project will focus on cases involving Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, redevelopment, subsidy expirations, rent control, and housing conditions.

 

  1. Housing Justice Project

Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (WLC) received continued funding to support its Fair Housing Project. Attorneys provide legal assistance to low-income tenants in an effort to preserve affordable housing in the District.

 

  1. Housing Preservation Project (Bread for the City)

Bread for the City received funding for its attorneys based at DC Superior Court’s Landlord-Tenant Court. The attorneys provide same-day representation to low-income DC residents facing eviction and conduct outreach to tenants living in subsidized housing and facing eviction. The project is also part of the court-based eviction defense collaboration with Legal Counsel for the Elderly, Legal Aid Society of DC, DC Law Students in Court, and DC Bar Pro Bono Center.

 

  1. Housing Preservation Project (DC Bar Pro Bono Center)

The DC Bar Pro Bono Center received new funding to provide legal assistance in cases involving housing conditions and unlawful rent increases. The project’s attorneys are based at the courthouse, and they also receive clients through their advice and referral clinic.

 

  1. Housing Preservation Project (Legal Aid Society of DC)

The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia received funding to provide Attorneys of the Day at the courthouse for eviction defense, as part of the court-based eviction defense collaboration with Legal Counsel for the Elderly, Bread for the City, DC Law Students in Court, and DC Bar Pro Bono Center. Attorneys will focus on tenants living in subsidized housing and facing eviction in order to preserve the few subsidies that remain in DC.

 

  1. Housing Preservation Project (Legal Counsel for the Elderly)

Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE) received funding to assist low-income elderly residents (60+) in eviction defense cases at the Landlord-Tenant Court. The project’s attorneys are based at the court-house and will work in collaboration with the other court-based eviction defense projects. LCE will also conduct pre-court outreach to tenants living in subsidized housing and facing eviction.

 

  1. Increasing Capacity of the Fair Housing Clinic

Howard University School of Law received new funding to hire an attorney, for its Fair Housing Clinic. With this increased capacity, the Clinic will represent more tenants in cases involving the preservation of low-income or subsidized housing, rent control, housing discrimination, and housing conditions. Approximately 82% of the Clinic’s clients are residents of Wards 5, 7, and 8.

 

  1. Stabilizing Communities Through Affordable Housing

Neighborhood Legal Services Program and DC Law Students in Court received new funding to collaborate on preserving affordable housing by representing tenants and tenant organizations in housing conditions cases, zoning cases, misuse of barring notices, and many other issues that jeopardize the future of affordable housing in DC.

 

IMMIGRATION – $145,500

 

  1. General Support: Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition

The Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition works to provide legal assistance to detained immigrants and asylum seekers in DC.

 

  1. Pro Bono Asylum Program

Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition’s Pro Bono Asylum Program (PBAB) provides free legal aid to survivors of torture who reside in DC and are seeking political asylum. PBAP’s attorneys help survivors prepare their applications, affidavits, and evidence for asylum, as well as represent them in their asylum interviews.

 

  1. Project Eradicating Notario Deceit (END)

Ayuda’s Project END advises, counsels, and represents immigrant victims of fraud in potential immigration, civil, and criminal processes stemming from fraudulent acts by “representatives” purporting to serve the immigrant community. These representatives are often known as “notarios” or “immigration consultants.” The intended beneficiaries of Project END are low-income immigrants residing in the District who have been defrauded by a notario.

 

INTERPRETER BANK – $360,000

 

  1. Community Legal Interpreter Bank

Since 2007, Ayuda has run a shared legal interpreter bank, which provides assistance to legal aid providers using trained community legal interpreters. The project serves as a national model for coordinated, point-of-service legal interpreter services.

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