Every night in DC, nearly 7,000 people have nowhere to sleep --and half of them are chronically homeless. Tapping into the generosity and skill of the local legal pool, Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless seeks to prevent and end homelessness through legal aid, education, and advocacy. Meeting with clients at six sites (including day centers and shelters), staff lawyers and nearly 250 volunteers offer direct representation at no cost for legal and civil proceedings. WLCH also ensures that housing agencies and legislation respect the rights of homeless and low-income families, shelters are well maintained and accessible to people with disabilities, and homeless services provide a safety net during severe financial crises. Empowering through support and education, WLCH now offers “Know Your Rights” trainings to shelter residents, focused on Disability Rights and the Homeless Services Reform Act. Between individuals and tenant associations, WLCH served nearly 1,400 clients last year and the caseload continues to grow. With your help, they will see that each individual has a strong voice – in court and in the community.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 1

Where They Operate: DC-Citywide; The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless is located in the U Street district, on U St and 12th St NW. We serve individuals and families experiencing homelessness throughout the entire District of Columbia.

Population(s) Served: Low- to Moderate-Income Community Members

  • Number of hours of volunteer work:  
    In 2016, DC law firms, solo practitioners and other legal professionals contributed approximately 11,130 hours of pro bono legal services, valued at $5,263,000.
  • Number of clients served:  
    We opened 983 new client matters in 2016 and assisted hundreds more DC residents through representation of tenant associations, systemic advocacy and know-your-rights workshops.
  • Number of volunteers:  
    The Legal Clinic has approximately 250 volunteer attorneys and paralegals.

Awards & Recognition

Professional Women in Advocacy Conference "Excellence in Advocacy Award" to Amber W. Harding, 2013

SHARC (Shelter Housing and Respectful Change) “Certificate of Appreciation for Deep Commitment to and outstanding legal support for Washington DC’s Homeless,” 2013

SHARC “Certificate of Appreciation” to Amber W. Harding, 2013

Gray Panthers of Metro Washington “Geraldine Brittain Award” to Patricia Mullahy Fugere, 2011

People for Fairness Coalition “The Peoples Award”, 2011

Consumer Leadership Forum “Certificate of Excellence for Outstanding Community/Organization Support,” 2010

DC Bar “William J. Brennan Award” to Patricia Mullahy Fugere, 2009

DC Center for Independent Living “Citizen Advocate” award to Amber W. Harding, 2007

DC Bar Foundation “Jerrold Scoutt Prize” to Scott McNeilly, 2004

National Association of Social Workers Metro Washington Chapter “Agency of the Year”, 2000

DC Bar Foundation “Jerrold Scoutt Prize” to Patricia Mullahy Fugere, 1998
Presidents Volunteer Action Award Citation, 1993


Budget (FY2012)

  • $3 million or higher
  • The current budget for Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless is: $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

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