2011 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Drake Hagner
The economic crisis has made it increasingly difficult for low-wage workers to find a job and stay employed. Unemployment rates in D.C.’s lowest-income communities are among the highest in the nation. In Ward 8, the lowest-income area of D.C., unemployment rates have reached Depression-era levels with more than 30% out of work. Higher levels of unemployment lead to more families living in poverty. Many families rely on unemployment insurance to survive the transition between jobs and ensure access to food and shelter. However, in D.C., only 10% of parties in unemployment insurance appeals are represented by counsel. By focusing on providing effective legal counsel to low-wage workers, the D.C. Unemployment Insurance Justice Project will expand access to unemployment insurance for low-income D.C. residents.