October 17, 2008

Beyond Bread: This Week's Readings

~ We're in the news! Following up with the Access to Justice report released last week, The Afro-American decided to highlight some of the organizations that work to address some of the report's concerns. The report recommended area law firms work with non-profits more, and that the DC government also make legal services a priority. The newspaper also quoted our own Vytas V. Vergeer:

The thrust of our work is landlord and tenant, but we do represent people in other matters such as family law, employment law, disability and public benefits," Vergeer said. "Landlord-tenant is really taking up a lot of our time because of the foreclosure crisis and the illegal sales of property that is affecting our clients." Vergeer said that he gets volunteer attorneys from the city’s largest law firms but still more is needed. "They are helpful, but it is not enough to keep our bases covered," he said.

~ More people are shirking medical care as the economy weakens. Yesterday The Washington Post ran a story stating that:
From Park Avenue dental offices to the Arlington Free Clinic, the global economic crunch is forcing a growing number of Americans to scale back on medical care. Consumers are attempting their own form of triage, pushing off seemingly less-urgent services in the hope that their financial health will improve. But the danger, say physicians, is that the short-term savings may translate into more severe long-term health implications.
This is a disturbing trend, to be sure. Though families cutting medical care from their budgets may seem benign, the long-term effects could be malignant. A full 20% of Americans reported trouble paying medical bills, and 23% said they didn't fill a prescription because of cost.

~ The Examiner is doing a two-part series that takes a look at youth homelessness in DC. According to the story, 7.6% of adolescents 12-17 have run away from home at some point, the predominant reason being sexual assault.

~ Tom Waits gave Washington DC a couple of shout-outs in an interview this week... if talking to yourself counts as an interview (and in the case of Mr. Waits, I think it always qualifies). Upon asking himself "What remarkable things have you found in unexpected places?" Mr. Waits replied that he was shocked to find DC to be the site of the most poverty he'd seen. He specifically alluded to "a homeless man with a beautiful operatic voice singing the word 'Bacteria' in an empty dumpster in Chinatown." Gritty!

Not related but worth noting was this gem:
Q: What is a gentleman?
A: A man who can play the accordion, but doesn’t.

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