WLCH believes that housing is a human right, so when the 2017 Point in Time survey counts 7,473 DC residents as homeless, there is work to be done. At six community-based sites, staff lawyers and 200 volunteers meet with individuals and families experiencing homelessness or severe housing instability, offering direct legal representation at no cost and helping them achieve permanent, affordable housing. WLCH also strives to ensure that housing agencies 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 financial crises. Community trainings empower shelter residents, educating them about their rights under the law. Last year, WLCH served 960 clients with direct representation, assisted tenant associations representing 1,000 households, and conducted outreach to 800 families seeking shelter. You can help give everyone a strong voice – in court and in the community.

COVID-19 Update: For 33 years, the Clinic sent volunteers into the community so that they could be present, in a low-barrier way, at the locations where clients were accessing other services – shelters, dining programs, day centers, and health facilities. At the onset of the pandemic, it developed and has been following a phone-intake protocol that allows it to connect with many who are in great need of services; concerns remain, however, that not everyone who would benefit can in fact be reached remotely, so the Clinic looks forward to the time when it can resume its community outreach.

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 (FY2016)

  • $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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