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PRESS RELEASE: DCBF releases Landlord Tenant Legal Assistance Network Customer Survey Study

[District of Columbia, February 27, 2023]. The DC Bar Foundation, in partnership with NPC Research, announces the release of the Landlord Tenant Legal Assistance Network (LTLAN) Customer Survey Study Report. The report analyzes the data collected from 185 survey participants and 19 interviewees. It provides recommendations for the ongoing administration of the LTLAN and future efforts to coordinate intake and referral in Washington, DC.

In June 2020, six DC Bar Foundation grantees collaborated to reduce barriers that DC tenants with low incomes face when accessing legal services by organizing the Landlord Tenant Legal Assistance Network (LTLAN). The District's Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program (CLCPP) funded the effort.

The LTLAN was designed to simplify the process of finding free legal services by providing tenants with a central intake service that connects them to one of the six CLCPP organizations - Bread for the City, DC Bar Pro Bono Center's Landlord Tenant Resource Center, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, Legal Counsel for the Elderly, Neighborhood Legal Services Program, and Rising for Justice.

Report findings include:

The LTLAN has emerged as a valuable community resource. Participants reported feeling satisfied with the service for quickly providing the legal help they needed, with close to 90% indicating they would use it again.

Participants contacted the LTLAN looking for legal representation and information. Over 40% of participants reached out to the LTLAN even though they were not facing an active eviction case. Participants were looking for answers to questions such as whether they could be evicted or what to do when they had a problem with their landlord. This result suggests that customers view the LTLAN as an access point to various legal services, not just representation.

Efforts to promote the LTLAN have been successful and can expand. The study participants largely learned about LTLAN through court documents and outreach efforts by the CLCPP partners. Tenants recommended that the LTLAN expand its outreach by establishing a social media presence, developing referral relationships with other social

services providers, and posting short informational materials in community spaces.

Participants felt supported during the LTLAN intake interview. Participants felt they could trust the intake specialists and appreciated that the LTLAN staff listened to their needs, showed genuine concern for their legal issues, acted in their interest, and got them the help they sought.

A timely response is important to customer perceptions of the LTLAN. The CLCPP attorneys called 59% of LTLAN customers back within 24 hours and 80% back within 48 hours. This result has important implications because participants who received a call back from an attorney within 48 hours had a more positive view of the LTLAN procedure, reported that they would use the service again, and would recommend the LTLAN to others.

The LTLAN can serve as the primary access point for legal services. Seventy-five percent of participants indicated they only contacted the LTLAN when looking for legal services. This suggests that customers felt comfortable with a centralized intake and referral service connecting them with an attorney who could help them.

Participants will spread the word about LTLAN. About 90% of participants said they would tell others facing eviction to contact the LTLAN for legal services.

Participants felt that the LTLAN made connecting with free legal help easier. Most participants with prior experience finding an attorney reported that they found the process of accessing legal services easier when they used the LTLAN compared to how they looked for legal help in the past.

Participant feedback focused on communication. When participants offered feedback for process improvements, better communication during the period between the intake interview and the attorney callback emerged as a key theme. Participants indicated that they would like it if the LTLAN gave a time range for when customers would receive a call back from an attorney, that the attorneys should not call from a private or blocked number, and that the service should consider using other communication mediums such as texting or an app.

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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