2012 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Stephanie Short

Stephanie Short

Name of Host Organization: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services
City, State: New Orleans, Louisiana
Issue area: Housing/Homelessness
Sponsors: Norflet Progress Fund

The Project

Stephanie provided outreach, legal education, and direct legal services to help low-income New Orleans residents overcome title problems that prevent them from accessing hurricane rebuilding funds and other assistance programs.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
In low-income Louisiana communities it is traditional for families to pass property down informally, often for generations, without ever clearing title to the property. This practice leaves the occupants without the ability to prove they own the property, meaning they are unable to sell, encumber, or insure the property. These problems became particularly acute after Hurricane Katrina, when victims living in “heir property” were unable to access disaster recovery funds and repair their homes. Clearing title to these properties allows home-owners to access funding for potential disasters and makes the community more resilient in the face of future disasters.
Fellowship Highlights: 
During her Fellowship, Stephanie:
• Cleared title to 104 homes
• Put 284 people in possession of their homes
• Achieved an economic benefit of more than $2 million for low-income homeowners
• Reached out to more than 600 community members about the importance of maintaining clear title to their homes
• Collaborated with other organizations and pro bono attorneys to assist the Isle de Jean Charles Native American tribe obtain clear title to its land, which will allow the tribe to access grants to relocate from its native lands that are quickly becoming submerged as a result of rising sea level and wetland loss
Where are they now?: 
Stephanie works as a staff attorney at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, focusing on title clearing, foreclosure and tax law.

Biography

Hometown:

New Orleans, Louisiana

Law school:

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