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Legal Counsel for the Elderly

Self Help Office Program Offers Legal Services

At 5 partnering D.C. locations, SHO provides free, in-person assistance for low-income seniors

Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE) believes there is no substitute for having staff "on the ground" within the community. LCE's Self Help Office (SHO) Program provides community-based, free legal services to D.C. seniors at five partnering sites:

  • Emmaus Services for the Aging
  • Bread for the City (SE location)
  • Israel Baptist Church
  • Capital View Baptist Church
  • IONA Senior Services

The Self Help Office Program was created to empower seniors through advocacy and to develop the concept of community partnerships. Assistance is provided directly, facilitated by a legal associate and volunteers. SHO assists upward of 200 seniors each year by providing brief legal services, including but not limited to:

  • Information on requesting services from the D.C. government
  • Legal information
  • Self-help guides
  • Public benefits checkups
  • Applications for public benefits
  • Assistance with housing code enforcement
  • Help drafting consumer complaint letters
  • Referrals to social service agencies
  • Assistance filing small claims cases
  • Information on requests for vital records
  • Legal advice by telephone

Throughout the year, SHO participates in outreach activities and initiatives targeting faith-based institutions, members of the D.C. Office on Aging "Senior Services Network," and other agencies. Outreach is a vital component of the program and it is often a collaborative effort, done through existing outreach activities of SHO partner sites and new partnerships.

Frequently Used Resources by Topic

  • ID Theft
  • Small Claims Court
  • Debt Collection
  • Real Property
  • Public Benefits

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PRO BONO OPPORTUNITIES

Pro Bono Projects: We have a backlog of 80-100 seniors on our waiting list for a pro bono attorney to prepare wills and/or powers of attorney. Additional pro bono projects may range from non-litigation to litigation.

Systemic Reform Projects: Please agree to lead or assist a systemic reform project that will benefit many elderly, low-income seniors. Projects may include litigation, drafting legislation, research, advising multiple clients on a systemic issue, and/or writing instructional materials for lawyers and clients.  See All Pro Bono Opportunities

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