The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted people worldwide in numerous ways. In Washington, DC, and throughout the country, many tenants have been at risk of eviction because of the pandemic’s economic fallout. To provide tenants in the District of Columbia (DC) with assistance during these difficult times, a coalition of six organizations created the Landlord-Tenant Legal Assistance Network (LTLAN).

Creation of LTLAN

LTLAN is an innovative response to the crisis that provides legal aid to tenants in Washington, DC, facing possible eviction. The program was created by six publicly-funded organizations: Bread for the City, DC Bar Pro Bono Center, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, Legal Counsel for the Elderly, Neighborhood Legal Services Program, and Rising for Justice. The LTLAN network operates a single phone line that tenants facing eviction in DC can contact. Legal aid attorneys staff the network and provide assistance to those in need.

Reaction to the Network

The creation of LTLAN has been well-received by both tenants and legal professionals. Lucy Newton, Deputy Director at Rising for Justice, expressed her excitement about the network’s creation, saying “I am just so thrilled to see this all come together… it helps to streamline the process for folks getting access to legal assistance at a time when they’re in a real crisis with a possible eviction.”

Success Rate of LTLAN

Since its inception, LTLAN has handled many cases for tenants who faced eviction. Between October 2021 and September 2022, LTLAN processed 2,425 intakes. Of the more than 180 District residents surveyed who used this intake line, 75% used only LTLAN. The users of LTLAN found the network helpful and felt supported, highlighting how beneficial the program has been during a difficult time. The users recommended the service to others and would contact LTLAN again if they required further assistance.

DC Bar Foundation’s support

The DC Bar Foundation is committed to making access to justice equal for all District residents regardless of their income, and it is the leading funder of civil legal aid in Washington, DC. The foundation initially funded the Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program, which evolved into LTLAN. The Court has partnered with LTLAN to publicize the network’s telephone number and has informed litigants who appear before the court for video hearings that legal assistance is available.

Conclusion

The creation of LTLAN has proven to be a vital resource for DC residents who are at risk of eviction. LTLAN’s success rate shows that the network is helping people who need legal aid and streamlining the process of getting that assistance at an affordable cost. The DC Bar Foundation’s support and partnership with LTLAN highlights the importance of providing legal aid to tenants facing eviction. For more information about the DC Bar Foundation, visit their website at www.dcbarfoundation.org.

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