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Tiara Brown

2015, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Tiara Brown

Tiara Brown

Name of Host Organization: Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
City, State: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Issue area: Housing/Homelessness, Civil Rights/Civil Liberties
Sponsors: Stinson Leonard Street LLP, Family of Hyman Edelman

The Project

Tiara will maximize safe and affordable housing opportunities for Housing Choice Voucher holders, the majority of whom are persons of color and families, in the growing and prospering communities along the planned light rail line in the Twin Cities’ Southwest Corridor

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
Gaining access to opportunity is getting harder everyday due to the increasing refusal by housing providers to accept Housing Choice (“Section 8”) Vouchers. Low-income voucher holders often feel forced to live in certain areas because the neighborhoods with good schools and easier access to quality jobs do not accept the vouchers; thus, Housing Choice Voucher holders often lives in areas with higher levels of poverty.

The Southwest LRT, a proposed rail line connecting Minneapolis to the region’s southwest suburbs, holds potential to connect voucher holders to better schools and better jobs. However, complexes that are sited along the line are already choosing to stop accepting vouchers, anticipating the demand for housing close to transit. The time is ripe to examine this issue and develop new strategies to keep and expand housing choice.
The Right Person For This Project
Tiara is the right person for the project because:
• She is committed to creating sustainable and widespread solutions for Housing Choice Voucher holders and their efforts to move to areas of opportunity
• She has first-hand experience in moving to an area of opportunity and understands the importance of others having the same chance
• She has worked with low-income families in addressing their housing issues through ordinance creation, community organization collaboration, and educational outreach
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship
In the first six months, Tiara will:
• Collect and analyze data of changes in rental housing along the existing Twin Cities’ light rail lines
• Collect national data regarding the utilization and mobilization of vouchers in comparable markets
• Overlay data with race data in comparable markets
• Identify, meet with, and establish agreements for coordinated work with staff of existing groups with related missions
• Attend meetings and monitor national and local publications, minutes, and other sources of information relating to source of income protections and development along the Corridor
• Provide direct representation in housing discrimination cases