DC Pro Bono Week 2022 Profile: Law Students Can Do Pro Bono Too!
By Breanna de Vera
Following the end of D.C.’s eviction moratorium, many residents were worried about falling behind on their rent and the looming threat of losing their homes. When the DC Office of the Attorney General planned pop-up clinics to help residents access emergency federal funding for housing and utility expenses, dozens of Georgetown students – including a Black Law Students Association contingent that made this a group pro bono project – joined the efforts.
Stronger Together by Assisting You (STAY) DC was a financial assistance program for DC renters and housing providers struggling to offset loss of income amidst the pandemic. The funding could be used for critical needs: rent, water, gas, electricity, and internet. Yet many residents were unaware that they could be eligible for assistance, or, for that matter, that the program even existed.
“I was amazed that so many people did not know about the initiative yet needed the assistance,” said Georgetown Law student Quincey Wilson (‘23). “It was comforting to know that the small part I played that day increased community awareness of the clinic and potentially helped many people get the assistance they needed.
Shiva Sethi, a then-first-year student at Georgetown, found the experience to be similar to his prior work at a D.C. anti-poverty nonprofit. “The person who Zachary Bradley (‘24) and I worked with was incredibly kind and grateful for our help,” Sethi said. “She had been in her apartment for several years, and unexpected funeral costs had made it hard for her to pay rent… Excessively long and detailed forms make it hard, if not impossible, for people to get the assistance that they need.”
Read more here about the work of Georgetown and other law schools around the country in response to the call from Attorney General Merrick Garland to assist those caught up in the COVID-19 eviction crisis.
And if you need a skills refresher, check out the list of Affiliated Trainings. You’ll find a housing-specific one starting October 31.