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New D.C. program to offer low-income residents who fight evictions a lawyer free of charge

This is meant to “level the playing field”

DC Aerial View Photo via Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Navy

On May 30, a final vote will be held for a Washington, D.C. program’s funding that could benefit thousands of low-income residents in the city. WAMU reported that the new program, which is endorsed by a D.C. City Council committee, would offer low-income residents a lawyer at no cost for eviction proceedings. Already, the committee has set aside $4.5 million for the pilot program.

D.C. Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie first introduced the pilot program last year, but it did not receive a vote before the end of last year’s session. In January 2017, McDuffie re-introduced the bill and has since worked with Councilmember Charles Allen to find money in order to implement the program in October, reported WAMU.

Those who would be eligible for the program are D.C. residents who make up to 200 percent of the poverty line, or approximately $24,000 per year for one person or $48,000 per year for a household of four people.

Allen told WAMU, “This doesn’t change landlord-tenant law, but it does try to level the playing field. Those residents would have legal representation to help support them, in many cases get to a settlement agreement, and in some cases protect housing and keep them from becoming homeless.”

Need A Lawyer To Fight An Eviction? A New D.C. Program Provides One For Free [WAMU]