Updated 12:58 p.m., 3/20/12
The District of Columbia Bar Foundation continued its support of a number of legal services for the city's neediest populations, today announcing more than $3 million in Access to Justice grants.
Three new programs have been selected to receive funds this year, including one that Foundation Executive Director Katherine Garrett said was chosen because of "the novelty of the program."
Run by Our Place DC, a women's criminal reintegration nonprofit, will help to "identify and address the legal needs of women" who have previously been incarcerated, Garrett said. The program will receive a $75,000 grant.
Started in 2007, the Access to Justice Grant Program funds "lawyers in underserved neighborhoods and communities" through a variety of programs, Garrett said. Stable appropriations by the city council, along with a small refund from one of last year's grantees, allowed the Foundation to increase the amount given to several previously funded programs despite a struggling economy.
"These funds are really critical at a time when the city is still trying to pull itself out of this recession," Garrett said.
The nonprofit that received the biggest contribution is a program for landlord-tenant cases run jointly by Bread for the City and the Legal Aid Society of DC, which received $570,000.
Additionally, the organization DC Law Students in Court received $85,000 to fund a program that provides same-day representation in landlord-tenant disputes in what Garrett described as "the 'point-of-crisis' legal services model."
Other returning programs include a legal interpreter service run by immigrant rights organization Ayuda, a teen parent support program managed by the Children's Law Center, and the Legal Counsel for the Elderly's Project HELP, which connects legal professionals with homebound seniors.