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Colorado Poverty Law Project

Many low-income Coloradans lack access to legal services, leaving them vulnerable to baseless evictions, discrimination, harassment, and fraud. We match these individuals with volunteer attorneys so they can access justice and be restored to self-sufficiency.

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Monthly Pro Bono Legal Clinic

Class

Crime & Legal 

Beneficiaries

At-Risk Populations
Ethnic/Racial Minorities
Hispanic, Latino Heritage
Homeless
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent

Description

CPLP hosts a monthly pro-bono legal clinic where volunteer attorneys are available to meet with individuals in need of civil legal assistance

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Mobile Home Initiative

Class

Crime & Legal 

Beneficiaries

At-Risk Populations
Ethnic/Racial Minorities
Families
Hispanic, Latino Heritage
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent

Description

Mobile home communities have been recognized as one of the best options for affordable housing in Colorado. They serve a large percentage of Spanish-speaking, disabled, and undocumented individuals and families. These residents unfortunately are experiencing the dual impact of two significant societal factors: 1) the sale of land to wealthy interests, resulting in the elimination of many of these communities; and 2) the economic fall-out from COVID-19.

The Colorado Poverty Law Project ("CPLP") Mobile Home Initiative seeks to assist these residents, utilizing four tiers: 1) forming a strategic plan that incorporates local priorities and community organizing goals and training resident leaders and advocates on how to formally and informally organize for purposes of collective negotiation and legal representation; 2) working with community owners on developing best practices; 3) educating residents on their legal rights as community members; and 4) training volunteer attorneys on how to assist community members, including through use of the State's new dispute resolution procedure, and facilitating pro bono representation of mobile home residents.

CPLP has partnered with Adams County and 9to5 Colorado to pilot this initiative and hopes to expand this program statewide in 2021. Thus far, CPLP and 9to5 Colorado have hosted a CLE for attorneys to learn about the Mobile Home Park Act and its amendments. The CLE was attended by over 75 attorneys. On August 18, 2020, CPLP and 9to5 also hosted a Know Your Rights presentation for community members to educate mobile home residents about their rights under the Mobile Home Park Act and its amendments. This event was the first of a monthly educational series for mobile home residents hosted virtually by CPLP and 9to5 Colorado. The entire series will focus on monthly education seminars about Colorado's mobile home laws in order to raise awareness of resources for legal advocacy.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

As this is a brand new initiative data is not yet available.

Just Housing Initiative

Class

Crime & Legal 

Beneficiaries

At-Risk Populations
Families
Homeless
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent
Unemployed, Underemployed

Description

Colorado Poverty Law Project (CPLP) was incorporated in 2014 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. CPLP's mission is to improve access to legal services for low-income Coloradans by acting in three areas: 1) providing legal advice and representation, through our volunteer network of over 300 attorneys, to low-income individuals; 2) educating and counseling individuals and their support organizations on legal issues common to low-income Coloradans; and 3) supporting groups advocating for protective laws and procedures.

CPLP traces its origin to a monthly legal clinic operated by CPLP's founders, starting in 2005. The legal clinic, housed at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) Stout Street Health Center in Denver, was designed as a place for volunteer attorneys to assist CCH clientele with legal issues. Common issues include obtaining and maintaining government benefits; family law and custody issues; debtor and bankruptcy issues; identification issues; name changes; civil rights issues; personal injury issues; offender deregistration; minor criminal issues; estate and inheritance; and housing issues.

As attendance at these clinics grew, CPLP was incorporated in 2014 and became an official program of the Denver Bar Association's Access to Justice Commission, which offers malpractice insurance for clinic volunteers. CPLP has continued operating the CCH legal clinic to this day.

In 2015, as the affordable housing crisis grew, CPLP saw an increase in eviction and housing-related legal issues. CPLP expanded its activities to accommodate the increased need in this area. CPLP coordinated with the Denver County Court self-help center to refer eviction cases to its volunteer attorneys and to work with court personnel on reforming eviction procedures. CPLP began accepting eviction referrals from other nonprofits, including CCH and 9-5 Colorado. CPLP also provided information to legislators and community groups focused on tenant rights legislation. CPLP began providing "know-your-rights" clinics to healthcare providers, neighborhood organizations, and mobile home park community tenants. CPLP also worked with Councilwoman Robin Kniech in establishing the City of Denver's Eviction Legal Defense Program, which refers eviction tenants to CPLP for placement with volunteers.

In 2019, CPLP formalized its expertise in housing law and created a "Just Housing" initiative to concentrate on serving individuals and the community more broadly. Under this umbrella, CPLP has sponsored many seminars and continuing learning education (CLE) programs for attorneys and supportive service providers, educating them on recent changes in tenants' rights and housing law. CPLP became viewed by many as the go-to pro bono referral service for questions and representation in indigent eviction and related cases in the Denver metro area.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

In 2019, CPLP referred 53 clients to its volunteer attorneys for individual representation in civil eviction and eviction-related matters as defined above. Denver (26), Jefferson County (7), Arapahoe County (9), Adams County (6), Boulder (3), Broomfield (2), Unreported County (4). Please note that these numbers represent head-of-household and not total family members, which were not tracked. If family members are to be included, a reasonable factor to apply would be 2.5, making the actual number of people served X. See https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/CO. Moreover, this factor of 2.5 is an average, irrespective of income. CPLP has found in the low-income band that the average number of family members in a unit is 3. Applying a factor of 3 would expand the total served to 159.

In 2019, CPLP connected 166 individuals with volunteer attorneys who provided legal advice/information/counseling in civil matters. Of those individuals, Denver (19), Arapahoe (12), Boulder (2), El Paso (1), Jefferson (2), Unreported County (6), From Clinic (124). Again, these are head-of-household numbers only. Tripling the number to account for family members would total 498.
In 2019, CPLP hosted 12 legal clinics at Stout St. Health Center in Denver:

January 2019: 8 people attended
February 2019: 14 people attended
March 2019: 10 people attended
April 2019: 9 people attended
May 2019: 8 people attended
June 2019: 12 people attended
July 2019: 16 people attended
August 2019: 19 people attended
September 2019: 13 people attended
October 2019: 8 people attended
November 2019: 10 people attended
December 2019: 15 people attended

Total Individuals Assisted through Legal Clinic in 2019 = 142

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.