Pro Bono
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Mother and Child

For an individual or family already struggling with the daily burdens of living in poverty, the consequences of an eviction can reach far beyond losing one’s home. 驱逐从根本上破坏了稳定. It can take months or years to secure a new place to live in the District of Columbia, 哪里的经济适用房供应在下降. Those without friends or family to rely on in the interim may be forced to live on the streets or in a shelter. 孩子们可能会停止上学. The prospect of finding a job or remaining employed becomes much more difficult.

Public and Subsidized Housing Tenants Are Particularly Vulnerable
If a person or family is evicted from public or subsidized housing, they will lose their home and very likely their housing subsidy. 在哥伦比亚特区, where there are 40,在补贴住房等候名单上有000人, 哪个项目自2013年起就不接受新申请者了, a person who is evicted will almost surely never obtain public housing again.

这个地区的房东和租客法庭很苛刻. 它通常被称为“驱逐法庭”.” Over 34,000 eviction cases are filed annually in the Landlord and Tenant Branch of D.C. Superior Court. 这个法庭存在严重的权力不平衡, where 95 percent of landlords are represented by counsel, 而90- 95%的租户似乎都是自顾自的. 没有法律代表, many tenants sign agreements waiving their defenses because they are not aware of their rights.

Cases involving housing subsidies are particularly complex, 而那些看起来很有远见的租户也不会过得很好. Tenants who are represented by counsel have a much greater chance of keeping their housing and their subsidy.

The outcome of a housing case illustrates the difference pro bono representation can make in the life of a family:

三个孩子的母亲, 其中一个是残疾人, was sued by her landlord for eviction over a few hundred dollars in unpaid rent. Meanwhile, the landlord had ignored multiple housing code violations including a lack of hot water, roach infestation, 天花板上有个洞, 以及无法操作的器具. Pro bono counsel 通过D分配.C. Bar Pro Bono Center 解决了客户的案子. The landlord was required to make necessary repairs, and the client kept her housing subsidy. Her family now lives in a place that is more healthy, safe, and secure.

住房辩护权项目: A Community-Wide Response
In 2013, the D.C. Bar公益中心和D.C. 司法公正委员会 brought together the legal services community and the private bar to address the housing crisis in the District. 这一努力的结果就是D.C. Right to Housing Initiative, a multi-pronged effort with the following four broad goals:

• Provide counsel to tenants facing eviction from subsidized or public housing;
• Revamp the broken shelter and emergency housing system;
• Preserve existing affordable housing and increase production of affordable housing; and
• Litigate to enforce fair housing laws and advocate for policy changes.

The 住房辩护权项目 is a key piece of this groundbreaking initiative. The project aims to dramatically reduce evictions by increasing access to pro bono representation for people living in subsidized housing, 谁是特别脆弱的租户. The 住房辩护权项目 guarantees free representation to a percentage of subsidized housing tenants who are sued for eviction.

The significant impact of pro bono representation is evident: A recent analysis demonstrated that 住房辩护权项目 clients are 5 times less likely to get a writ of restitution (the order that allows U.S. Marshals安排驱逐)和2.5 times more likely to enter into settlement agreements.

The 住房辩护权项目 is a collaborative effort between District legal services providers and law firms. In addition to the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, 参与组织包括面包城市, 哥伦比亚特区法律援助协会, 及长者法律顾问. 已有14家澳门赌场官网事务所在该项目上签字. 四家澳门赌场官网事务所,盛德澳门赌场官网事务所,欧华澳门赌场官网事务所,詹纳澳门赌场官网事务所 & 布洛克,和霍根·洛弗尔斯-与D.C. 澳门赌场官网公益中心接受补贴住房案件.

Past D.C. Bar President Timothy Webster has personally seen the impact of this initiative.

“我已经接了两个病例,它们让我大开眼界. Sitting in my comfortable office at Sidley Austin it is hard to imagine there are people who can’t afford to pay their $100 share of subsidized rent some months or whose apartments are so cold in the winter that their family has to live and sleep in the living room for warmth. 但是在我们的社区里有很多这样的人, and this initiative is designed to get them the help they need in their time of crisis.”

We aspire to offer counsel to all tenants living in subsidized housing who are facing eviction as pro bono and staff resources increase.

D.C. 住房权倡议伙伴
Bread for the City
D.C. 司法公正委员会
D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center
D.C. 法律系学生上法庭
Empower DC
Equal Rights Center
Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown Law Center
Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs

For more information, please contact Gabriella Lewis-White at [email protected].