FY21 Funding Advocacy
Help us urge the DC Mayor and DC Council to approve $19 Million for the Access to Justice Initiative.
We are facing an unprecedented demand for civil legal aid services during COVID-19. That demand will continue to soar. District residents are facing new and unanticipated legal problems that will only continue to grow as we emerge from this crisis. The DC Access to Justice Commission’s FY21 budget request of $19 million for the Access to Justice Initiative is now more important than ever.
Investment in the civil legal aid network is critical to the District’s recovery. The aftermath of COVID-19 will increase the need for civil legal aid. Any cuts in funding to the Access to Justice Initiative will have a devastating impact on District residents who will need help.
What are some of the ways the legal aid network will continue to be impacted in the aftermath of COVID-19?
- If unemployment continues to rise many District workers will need help navigating the unemployment compensation system and securing available benefits and protections – many for the first time in their lives.
- District residents that were once able to hire private attorneys to handle their cases will now turn to legal aid for services. We must provide adequate funding to meet the demand.
- District residents who had difficulty paying rent during COVID-19 due to lost wages will seek legal aid services to help with impending evictions, debt collection, and other civil legal challenges.
- Shelter-in-place orders are difficult on already strained relationships and legal aid lawyers predict there will be an increased demand for divorce, visitation and custody assistance.
- Legal aid lawyers ease the burden on the courts by either directly representing low-income residents or assisting and preparing pro-se litigants for court.
How can you help?
- Send an email to Mayor Bowser and your District Council Member. [Sample email and relevant contact information]
- Urge Mayor Bowser and your District Council Member on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Use the hashtags #DCNeeds19M and #DCciviljustice in your posts. [Social media toolkit]
- Build public awareness and support by sharing our two sets of talking points on the issue. [Needs created by COVID-19 and How legal aid can help]
Thank you for your continued support, and help during these unprecedented times.