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Michaela Wallin

2013, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Michaela Wallin

Michaela Wallin

City, State: New York, New York
Issue area: Domestic Violence
Sponsors: Morgan Stanley, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

The Project

Michaela worked to combat the growing tide of nuisance ordinances that threaten the safety and housing security of domestic violence victims through legal representation, policy advocacy, and outreach.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
Despite a well-known connection between domestic violence and housing insecurity, local governments are increasingly enacting local nuisance ordinances that exacerbate the perilous position of domestic violence victims. Ordinances typically impose sanctions on property owners if police are called to a home more than a certain number of times and only remove sanctions if owners evict the tenants. These ordinances endanger domestic violence victims, who may not leave their abusers permanently until after several attempts, so they repeatedly experience crime in their homes. Every day these laws force victims to risk the long-term effects of housing insecurity by calling the police or risk their lives by not calling. Nuisance ordinances have also been found to be enforced disproportionately against minority communities and persons with mental disabilities.