Project HELP provides critically important legal assistance and advocacy to some of the most vulnerable seniors living in our community. These older neighbors are unable to play an active role in society because of their homebound status, which results in them becoming "invisible" and, consequently, this all too often leads to situations in which they are taken advantage of because of their decreased mobility and limited support network.
Project HELP utilizes a full-time staff attorney, para-professional support, volunteers, and a cadre volunteer (pro bono) attorneys from private law firms and government organizations.
- Interview clients at home regarding legal problems;
- Draft or review legal documents that seniors may need, such as powers of attorney or wills;
- Administer a public-benefits checkup;
- Assist clients with securing and maintaining public benefits such as Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, Elderly and Persons with Physical Disabilities (EPD) Waiver, Medicare, Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
- Assist clients whose benefits or services have been threatened with termination, terminated, decreased or overpaid, through representation at all stages of the appeal process including personal conferences, requests for reconsideration, and fair hearings before the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).
- Analyze their housing situation concerning any landlord problems or consumer problems or, in the case of homeowners, any problems with home repair, predatory lending or deed fraud;
- Ensure proper follow-up on the identified legal problems either directly or via LCE’s other program initiatives.
We are always looking for volunteers! We have a special need for attorneys and notaries, but anyone can volunteer to serve as a witness when we finalize important documents in seniors' homes.
- If you are an attorney licensed in the District of Columbia, please consider taking a case from us pro bono. We have many homebound seniors who need legal assistance. Our staff often gives training presentations on basic estate planning at area law firms. Please let us know if you are interested in hosting a training session.
- If you are a notary licensed in the District of Columbia, please consider volunteering to help our clients execute important documents. Periodically, we send emails to our volunteer notaries asking if they can meet us at certain times and places to notarize documents for our homebound clients. Please send us your email address, and we will add you to our list.
Because of limited resources, HELP staff and volunteers can make home visits only to those clients who cannot leave their homes absent an emergency. All clients who are able to travel downtown to our law offices are asked to do so.