Legal Aid Wa Annual Report 2019
Legal Aid`s 45 lawyers and five paralegals provided comprehensive representation, advice or short services on more than 3,500 cases over the past year, focusing on many of the biggest barriers preventing DC residents from overcoming poverty. These barriers were highlighted by the 2016 Community Listening Project, where researchers surveyed more than 700 DC residents living in poverty to learn more about the challenges they face. In 2018 alone, more than 31,000 deportation cases were filed in Washington. About 9 out of 10 DC residents prosecuted for deportation do not have a lawyer. This is particularly tragic because, compared to unrepresented tenants, tenants represented by a lawyer and partner organizations through our innovative Housing Right to Counsel project are eight times less likely to receive an eviction order against them. What was a scary time for lawyers in the Northwest was a downright terrifying time to be an unemployed home caregiver or construction worker in the Southeast. Due to the economic downturn, nearly 10 percent of DC residents are unemployed — and the numbers are almost double those in Districts 7 and 8. People living in poverty face the legal system at every turn, and often where the stakes are high. It is inspiring to reflect on the fact that the founders of Legal Aid recognized that, in the face of crushing poverty, unemployment and income inequality, it was crucial to provide quality legal advice to people living in poverty – advocacy that focuses not only on the impact of individual families, but also on the evolution of systems. that affect the lives of our customers. In 2012, Legal Aid is doing everything it can to honour this legacy by fighting to make justice a reality for our client community in an individual and systemic way.
Legal Aid is the law firm for clients who cannot afford a lawyer. Our staff and volunteers work every day to make the justice system work. For 75 years, with the support of the legal community, we have ensured that the promise of equal justice for all is kept. With continued support, we will maintain and strengthen this commitment in the years to come. In 2018, Legal Services Corporation awarded grants to 132 independent nonprofit organizations that provide free civil law services to low-income Americans from 852 offices in every state, District of Columbia, and territories of the United States of America. Justice is not a personal exercise. There are many ingredients to ensure that everyone, regardless of income or wealth, gets a fair outcome in a lawsuit. It is necessary to have good laws and effective courts and administrations. But it is also important to have lawyers. Legal aid is here to help. We ensure that our clients` rights are respected, their voices are heard and they are treated with dignity.
Every day, our lawyers and staff are there to make justice a reality. It has been an exciting year at Legal Aid. We established a new community office in southwest D.C. a new housing project focused on improving conditions for low-income tenants in DC; a new holistic legal advice project for survivors of domestic violence, expanding our services to clients in crisis; and much more. Equality of justice is at the heart of what legal aid is and does. When a lawyer helps a family who is forced to appear in court in an eviction trial to save their home, he is doing the work of justice. When a lawyer helps a woman escape domestic violence, he is doing the work of justice. When a lawyer helps victims of mortgage fraud keep their homes, or seniors receive benefits wrongly denied, or a family get custody or support from the courts, they are doing the work of justice. Legal aid lawyers do the work of justice when they help a person who would otherwise be unrepresented to access the court system and get a fair outcome.
Legal Aid has shifted many of its services to communities where poverty is highly concentrated. As we continue to serve clients in our main office in downtown Washington, D.C., to reduce transportation and other barriers, we have opened three offices east of the Anacostia River and one office at the Superior Court`s Landlords and Tenants Branch. All our municipal offices are partnerships with other legal and social organizations. We have located them not only in our clients` neighbourhoods, but also in places where clients are already using other services. Our presence in the community allows us to help individuals and families who do not have the resources to get around downtown. As legal aid advocates know, income inequality remains an intractable problem in the nation`s capital. USA Today recently reported that income inequality is higher in the district than in any other state in the country. Other sources note that the district has the fourth highest income inequality among America`s largest cities. DC is one of the most economically prosperous and economically unequal cities in the country. LSC`s annual reports cover LSC events, achievements and news during a calendar year. They also include financial reports. Our annual reports provide a comprehensive overview of Legal Aid`s activities and achievements in Australia each year.
The Legal Services Corporation is the nation`s largest funder of civil services and plays an important role in a public-private partnership focused on realizing the American promise of equal justice for all. Our annual reports since 2001 can be downloaded below. Printed copies of the 1976 to 2001 annual reports are held in our Perth office. 2020 has been a difficult year for all of us. But it was especially horrible for many of our black friends and neighbors. COVID-19 has killed black Americans more often than any other group, and the police killings of George Floyd and many others have once again demonstrated the impact of state violence on Black lives. It has been quite a year for our city and our country. Sometimes it seems that we are more and more divided every day.
The economy is booming, but nearly half of the children growing up east of the Anacostia River live in poverty. Beautiful new houses are built in large parts of the district, while many poor residents lack heat in winter. DC is home to some of the best new chefs and restaurants in the country, but too many families are struggling to put food on the table. Now in its third year, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the racial, social and systemic inequalities that have always existed in our community. Viruses aren`t racist, but 88 percent of DC residents who have lost their lives to COVID are black or Hispanic. Legal aid clients often come to us with a variety of problems: a grandmother who needs help with her drug plan may also be threatened by abusive collection agencies; A survivor of domestic violence who needs to get to safety may also need help receiving unemployment benefits. With 37 lawyers in five units and five employees hired on a rotational basis by regional law firms, as well as many volunteer and volunteer lawyers, Legal Aid strives to provide holistic services to all of its clients. DC residents shouldn`t need a lawyer to help them get the safety net benefits they desperately need and are entitled to under the law.
Unfortunately, getting advice is too often a mandatory step towards getting benefits. Each year, our public benefits unit – the largest in the district – plays a vital role in supporting DC.