More than $243,000 Awarded to DC Legal Aid Organizations for Foreclosure Prevention and Community Redevelopment Legal Assistance

[District of Columbia, October 6, 2015] – The DC Bar Foundation has awarded more than $243,000 to five DC-based legal aid organizations for four projects providing foreclosure prevention and community redevelopment legal assistance.

The funding will:

1. Support legal aid attorneys who represent low-income and elderly DC residents in foreclosure cases;
2. Provide counsel to preserve affordable housing for Asian American tenants of Museum Square;
3. Hire an attorney to preserve the historic Deanwood neighborhood; and
4. Ensure that affordable housing properties in DC transition to market rate in a way that avoids displacement of low-income DC tenants.

DCBF received these funds as a result of a 2014 settlement on mortgage-related litigation between the U.S. Department of Justice and Bank of America Corporation. The settlement provided that every Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program receive funds for legal aid organizations in its jurisdiction for foreclosure prevention legal assistance and community redevelopment legal assistance. IOLTA exists in every state, as well as the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals created the DC IOLTA Program in 1985, and the program became mandatory in 2010. As a result, every attorney barred in the District must place eligible client funds in a DC IOLTA account unless they fit within an exemption. Funds are eligible if they are nominal in amount or will be held for a short period of time, and only approved financial institutions can offer DC IOLTA accounts. The interest generated on these accounts is pooled to provide civil legal aid to the poor.

The complete list of grantees and projects is attached and available on the DC Bar Foundation website at www.dcbarfoundation.org.

The DC Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization established in 1977, is the largest funder of civil legal services in the District. The Bar Foundation’s mission is to fund, support, and improve legal representation of the poor, vulnerable, and otherwise disadvantaged in the District of Columbia, and it is committed to the vision that residents of the District have equal access to justice, regardless of income. The Foundation provides grants and training and technical assistance to local non-profit legal services organizations and awards loans to D.C. poverty lawyers to help with their educational debt.

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THE 2015 RECIPIENTS OF BANK OF AMERICA FORECLOSURE
PREVENTION AND COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT GRANTS

Legal aid organizations based in the District were able to apply for funding for foreclosure prevention and/or community redevelopment legal assistance projects. More than $243,000 was awarded to the four projects below:
FORECLOSURE PREVENTION LEGAL ASSISTANCE PROJECTS

Joint Court-Based Foreclosure Prevention Project
Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia and Legal Counsel for the Elderly
$100,000

COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT LEGAL ASSISTANCE PROJECTS

Save Museum Square Project
Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center
$24,500

Deanwood Neighborhood Preservation Project
Neighborhood Legal Services Program
$84,000

Affordable Housing Preservation Project
Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil and Urban Affairs
$35,000