May 1, 2009

Beyond Bread: Law Day Roundup

First a word to DC's many lawyers: Happy Law Day! Started in 1958, May 1st legally became Law Day in 1961. Many groups of lawyers come to DC around this time to lobby Congress for all sorts of things. Our lawyers will spend the day in court as part of the Lawyer of the Day program, through which we take on civil cases when the defendent can't afford an attorney.

We're happy to have eight full-time attorneys on staff covering three types of law: public benefits, family, and landlord/tenant.

~Speaking of the Lawyer of the Day program, City Desk's Jason Cherkis picked up on the good news we reported about civil legal services in DC. Earlier this week, the Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to maintain funding for a host of needed legal services. As City Desk reported, 98 percent of respondents in cases filed in the Domestic Violence Unit in D.C. Superior Court don't have representation. They go into court to defend their home themselves. Thanks to Jason for drawing attention to the importance of civil legal funding to low-income residents in DC.

~Leslie Bray was, at one time, a client at Bread for the City. Now she has a vibrant fashion column in the Examiner, donates to Bread for the City monthly, and is a passionate advocate for individual giving. You should read her column about her latest charity initiative.

~Councilmember Graham has a really interesting interview on The Heights Life, talking about development, the need to preserve low-income housing, and how he loves to party at Wonderland.

~The CKP Blog, run by the non-profit Campus Kitchens, has a good discussion about trying to reduce waste. Considering they deliver meals, this is no small feat. Right now many Campus Kitchens are using styrofoam clamshells because they're cheap and efficient. But one of their Kitches has come up with another solution--tupperware! Liz Whitehurst tells us that the kinks are still being worked out, but this is a perfect example of how direct-service non-profits are responding to the national call to reduce waste. Good work, Campus Kitchens!

~DCFPI's blog says the Youth Employment Program needs to heighten accountability if it is going to truly help young people. With 21,000 participants and 23 million in funding, accountability structures must be a mind-numbing thought.

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