Ruano Velasquez, left, and Jamal Bailey, right

Throughout the Spring 2022 semester, General Practice Family Defense Clinic students have represented mothers whose housing conditions present health concerns for their children. The students have successfully advocated for needed repairs, rodent extermination, mold inspection and remediation. They have also assisted clients in requesting transfers and ADA accommodations.    

The clinic partnered with the Mayfair/Paradise Family Success Center and the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia (Legal Aid DC) to conduct a Know Your Rights presentation for the community based on information gathered while working with the clients. Jamal Bailey ’22 presented on housing rights with a focus on tenants’ rights to safe housing, and Yoliara Ramos from Legal Aid DC spoke with the attendees about domestic violence law. Following the presentation, an attendee reflected on what they learned, “We greatly enjoyed the presentation, and it was very informative. We all learned something new and the residents who came definitely learned a lot.”  

Rising 3L Elisa Ruano Velasquez will conduct a similar presentation at the Minnesota Avenue/Benning Road Family Success Center this summer. Ruano Velasquez will share information with community members on housing issues and tenants’ rights while Legal Aid DC will focus on rights for victims of domestic violence. The Family Success Centers are in targeted neighborhoods in Wards 7 and 8, and each center connects families to prevention services that are critical to family success.  

The General Practice Clinic’s partnership with the two Ward 7 centers was the first such partnership with legal services providers; the General Practice Clinic professors more broadly hope to explore future collaborations with the Centers.  

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