East of the River Profiles:
Meeting the Community's Legal Needs

East of the River Map

East of the River Profiles highlight the work of lawyers,  law professors, and law students who serve low-income residents in Wards 7 and 8.  Poverty in the District of Columbia is concentrated in certain communities east of the Anacostia River. Lawyers are critical to helping low-income residents in these communities navigate challenges such as finding housing, stabilizing families, and finding jobs.

Providing the necessary legal services to those who live East of the River requires minimizing geographic barriers to accessing legal aid, motivating pro bono lawyers and law students to travel across the river to assist clients, and ensuring that legal aid lawyers are visible and accessible in the community. With East of the River Profiles, we hope to encourage these changes by highlighting the needs of those who live East of the River and the work done by the lawyers serving these communities.

In addition to telling these important stories, we've collected some East of the River resources. We also invite you to participate in the East of the River Casehandlers group.

Finally, we’d love to hear from you! If you have stories, successes, or resources that you’d like us to share, please contact our editors.

$10 Million for East of the River Students to Attend College

17 October 2017   East River of the River Profiles, Featured

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a $10 million grant for the D.C. College Access Program, a nonprofit that helps Ward 7 and Ward 8 students afford college.

For more than two decades, DC-CAP has helped District students attend college, providing financial assistance as well as counseling and advice to students and their families. The new grant will allow DC-CAP to partner with the College Success Foundation to expand their outreach to middle schools in Southeast and will help to provide up to $25,000 in scholarships for each eligible student. (more…)

DC Bar Foundation Awards Access to Justice Grants to Legal Services Providers East of the River

28 April 2017   East River of the River Profiles, Featured | Tags: , , , , , ,

The DC Bar Foundation recently announced the 2017 recipients of the Access to Justice Grants Program, which awards grants to DC-based organizations that provide free legal help to low-income DC residents. This year, over $4.5 million was awarded to more…

Beth Harrison and the Future of Legal Aid

19 January 2017   East River of the River Profiles, Featured | Tags: , ,

By Craig Welkener As DC’s affordable housing crisis deepens, Beth Harrison and other advocates have created an innovative program for people on the brink of eviction, pushing the boundaries of what has been possible in legal aid. By identifying at-risk…

Jobseeker Clinics East of the River

12 January 2017   East River of the River Profiles, Featured | Tags: , ,

By Caroline Fleming

This January, Neighborhood Legal Services Program is partnering with DC Public Library to launch Unlocking Employment, a new series of free, community-based legal clinics. The clinics, which will be staffed by dedicated NLSP personnel, are supported by a grant from the LSC Pro Bono Innovation Fund; the grant will enable half-day pro bono legal clinics several times a month at two library branches: Bellevue/William O. Lockridge in Ward 8, and Benning/Dorothy I. Height Library in Ward 7. Volunteer lawyers will help low-income job-seekers address barriers to employment, including background checks, driver’s-license revocation, and discrimination.

WMATA Proposes Cutting Service East of the River

18 October 2016   East River of the River Profiles, Featured | Tags: , ,

In an attempt to address ongoing budget difficulties, WMATA recently proposed several options, including service changes and fare increases to its rail and bus services. CityLab reports that both changes will disproportionately affect riders East of the River.

From Private Practice to Public Interest: Deborah Levine

01 September 2016   East River of the River Profiles, Featured | Tags: ,

By Miranda Hines

Deborah Levine has achieved the legal trifecta: She’s gone from private practice to the federal government to a public-interest organization. Now she’s bringing her skills east of the river. (More…)

Event Series: The State of African Americans in DC

01 September 2016   East River of the River Profiles, Featured | Tags: ,

The Georgetown University DC Public Policy Initiative and the School of Nursing & Health Studies are hosting an upcoming event series: The State of African Americans in DC. The series joins reports commissioned by the DC Commission on African-American Affairs and sponsored by Georgetown in order to focus on the condition of African Americans living in DC. (more…)

Justice in Aging Fellow Shana Wynn Works for District Seniors

12 July 2016   East River of the River Profiles, Featured | Tags: , ,

By Miranda Hines

Shana Wynn, a 2015–2016 Borchard Law and Aging Fellow, may need to clone herself: She is effectively doing the work of two people, fighting on two fronts to ensure that her clients can age with dignity. She works primarily for Justice in Aging, which does policy work; two days a week, she also represents clients pro bono at the Southeast DC office of Neighborhood Legal Services Program, which serves residents of Wards 7 and 8. (more…)

Blogging for Ward 7: Community Activist Susie Cambria

23 June 2016   East River of the River Profiles, Featured | Tags: ,

By Peter Nye

Ward 7 blogger and community activist Susie Cambria has worked on District policy and public-interest initiatives for more than two decades, partnering with local nonprofits and the DC city government before launching Susie’s Budget and Policy Corner in 2009. But she first got involved in community issues early in her childhood. Her parents led her in that direction: “Being an activist was just something that we did.”

When she was seven, her father, a Shriner, took her to the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts. She was influenced by the patients’ problems, especially those of a seven-year-old amputee who pushed himself around in a cart. Susie promptly hosted a neighborhood fair to raise money for the patients. She raised seven dollars; impressed by her dedication, the Shriners donated twice as much. (more…)