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PRESS RELEASE: DC Bar Foundation Releases Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program Report

[District of Columbia, May 2, 2024] – The DC Bar Foundation, in collaboration with NPC Research, announces the release of its Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program Biannual Progress Report. 

The Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program (CLCPP) is a grant program established by the Expanding Access to Justice Amendment Act enacted by the Council of the District of Columbia in July 2017. The DC Bar Foundation administers grants and, in 2023, made awards to seven legal services organizations in the District to provide legal assistance to DC residents with low incomes at risk of eviction or the loss of a housing subsidy or seeking to remedy housing conditions.

The latest report covers the period from July 1 to December 31, 2023. Report highlights during this period include:

Cases closed, and residents served. CLCPP partners served 1,741 tenants across 1,920 cases. The partners closed an average of 320 cases per month, a higher monthly volume than the CLCPP organizations closed during the pre-pandemic period between August 2019 and mid-March 2020, when they closed an average of 288 cases per month. Of tenants served, 80% identified as Black or African American, 65% identified as women, and 58% identified as a woman of color. Some 37% had minors living in the household, 31% had a disability or chronic health condition, and 40% lived in subsidized housing. While CLCPP services reached tenants in every District Ward, 51% of clients lived in Wards 7 and 8.


Clients typically faced a landlord who was represented by an attorney. Among the 1,030 CLCPP cases where the tenant had been served with an eviction complaint, an attorney represented the landlord in 946 (92%). This imbalance in access to legal representation underscores the importance of the CLCPP services.


CLCPP attorneys helped 302 families remain housed. During this period, CLCPP attorneys helped 302 clients – representing 654 household members – retain possession of their homes. Forty-one percent of these clients had minor children living in the home, and 85 (28%) reported having a household member living with a disability.


CLCPP partners relaunched the Housing Right to Counsel (HRTC) project. In November 2023, CLCPP partners relaunched the HRTC to augment system capacity by connecting tenants facing eviction from subsidized housing with a pro bono attorney for representation. CLCPP providers collectively trained cohorts of pro bono attorneys in housing law and developed a workflow that identifies eligible tenants and connects them to available pro bono counsel. 


CLCPP network strengthened relationships with community-based partners to reach tenants in the community. In addition to providing direct legal services to tenants facing eviction, the CLCPP partners continued collaborating with community-based organizations (CBOs) to support broader eviction prevention efforts. Since 2021, the CLCPP partners have developed working partnerships with CBOs to coordinate community canvassing and other outreach efforts to connect tenants facing eviction with a CLCPP attorney. In the past year, the CBOs established participatory defense hubs where tenants receive legal information about the eviction process, meet other tenants who have experienced eviction, and get connected to CLCPP partners.


You can read the full report at this link.


 About the DC Bar Foundation: We are committed to transforming DC's legal aid network so all District residents have a fair and equal legal experience. Through our network approach, we actively bring together all invested stakeholders to identify and address the unmet civil legal needs of underserved DC residents, create solutions with a critical eye for racial justice and equity, and demonstrate meaningful impact.


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