NEW YORK, NY — The Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCo) and the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA) stand united in response to Attorney General Garland’s call to the legal profession to swiftly respond to the housing crisis by preventing eviction and promoting access to funds available to low-income tenants through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).
Countless Americans are at risk of losing their homes as the pandemic continues and the effects of its economic consequences push housing stability out of reach. Communities of color are disproportionately affected by this crisis and are historically underrepresented in landlord-tenant disputes. Legal services organizations face an overwhelming need for support as large-scale eviction efforts commence.
Law firms have an important opportunity to support legal services organizations, contribute to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and help mitigate a housing crisis that would exacerbate exposure to COVID-19 and worsen the impact on people of color. The funding available through ERAP not only offers a critical lifeline to people facing eviction, but it also provides rent owed to landlords who are also adversely impacted by the pandemic.
LFAA and APBCo are immediately seeking active engagement from law firms, their lawyers and other professional staff to support legal services organizations and to provide pro bono assistance to tenants eligible for ERAP funds. To facilitate that work, the organizations will be offering a nationwide training on September 2, 2021 to prepare advocates to assist with ERAP applications. APBCo and LFAA will coordinate with legal services organizations throughout the country to offer resources to support their work related to eviction prevention. Together, we will work to ensure equitable access to justice, especially among marginalized communities of color and other vulnerable people who have suffered devastating hardship throughout the pandemic and who are at heightened risk of harm today.
Organizations that need volunteers to assist with ERAP applications can complete this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/APBCoLFAA-ERA.
Individuals who are interested in attending or viewing the ERAP training can register here: https://insights.skadden.com/57/2339/landing-pages/eviction-prevention.asp.
The Association of Pro Bono Counsel is a mission-driven membership organization of 285 attorneys and practice group managers who run pro bono practices in nearly 150 of the world’s largest law firms. APBCo’s mission is to maximize access to justice through the delivery of pro bono legal services by advancing the model of the full-time law firm pro bono counsel, supporting and enhancing the professional development of pro bono counsel, and serving as the voice of the law firm pro bono community. Visit https://apbco.org/ or email [email protected] for more information.
Press Contact: Tiffany Graves, [email protected]
The Law Firm Antiracism Alliance convenes, trains and mobilizes law firms to identify and dismantle structural and systemic racism in the law. LFAA facilitates the antiracist pro bono work of nearly 300 Alliance Firms, which are home to over 165,000 lawyers. Alliance Firms are located in every state of the U.S. as well as Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, South Africa and the U.K. Visit https://www.lawfirmantiracismalliance.org/lfaacharter/Home for more information.