With 17 percent of DC residents living in poverty and the city’s housing market consistently ranking as one of the most expensive in the U.S., the nation’s capital has a housing formula for disaster. For many families and individuals, civil legal aid is the difference between keeping their homes or being forced out onto the street. Unlike in criminal cases where one is guaranteed access to representation, most residents appearing in the District’s Landlord and Tenant Court do not have an attorney, which drastically increases their chances of losing their homes and valuable subsidies.
In an effort to provide legal services to tenants at risk of losing their homes and preserve affordable housing, the DC Bar Foundation administers the Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program (CLCPP). CLCPP was established by the Council of the District of Columbia through the Expanding Access to Justice Amendment Act of 2017, and since 2018, DCBF has awarded annual grants to DC legal aid organizations that are providing free legal representation to low-income DC tenants facing eviction, with a focus on wards with the greatest need.
Under the Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program, DCBF has awarded nearly $8 million to six organizations and helped thousands of District residents in accessing vital legal assistance when faced with eviction.