On April 20, Legal Aid and one of its clients testified before the D.C. Council Committee on the Judiciary in support of full funding of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Initiative. The Initiative provides vital financial support for civil legal services for the District’s most vulnerable residents.
The Access to Justice funds support four projects at Legal Aid: our Court-Based Legal Services Project, housed in the Landlord-Tenant Branch of D.C. Superior Court; our Child Support Community Legal Services Project, housed in the Paternity & Support Branch of D.C. Superior Court; our Southeast Neighborhood Access Project, which allows Legal Aid to increase its presence and serve more residents in Southeast D.C., where there is a high concentration of persons living in poverty; and our newest project, the Domestic Violence Underserved Communities Representation Project, which builds on our existing DV work and increases our ability to provide legal services to underserved communities in Northeast D.C.
Legal Aid’s testimony highlighted the positive impact that the Court-Based Legal Services Project has had for low-income tenants facing eviction. Since the Project began five years ago, attorneys from Legal Aid and Bread for the City have provided same-day representation to nearly 3,000 individuals or families in Landlord Tenant Court. One of the tenants who Legal Aid assisted through the project testified about what it meant to him to have legal representation in his housing case. The full text of Legal Aid's written testimony can be accessed here, and the testimony of our client, Anthony Overton, can be accessed here.