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Darrius Woods

2017, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Darrius Woods

Darrius Woods

Name of Host Organization: Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc.
City, State: Atlanta, Georgia
Issue area: Housing - Affordable Housing/Microfinance
Sponsors: The Home Depot, Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP

The Project

Provide legal advocacy in low-income communities and communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by predatory home purchase scams to prevent abusive practices and build wealth.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by this predatory financial product. This practice has its roots in the 1930s when FHA’s redlining practices left African Americans vulnerable to investors peddling land contracts. More recently, minority neighborhoods were hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis, as they were targeted for subprime loans. I hope my work will help prevent even more wealth from leaving minority communities.
The Right Person For This Project

Darrius is the right person for the project because:
• He has a personal connection to predatory home purchase scams through his family’s own struggles with housing instability.
• He went to law school with a plan to fight for housing rights and against the financial mechanisms that work to destabilize low-income communities of color.
• He has laid the groundwork through his work in developing a community legal education program in Nashville, primarily focused on housing rights.

Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship

In the first six months, Darrius will:
• Begin to establish connections with local community groups.
• Gather data on the use of land contracts.
• Research legal defenses to eviction and forfeiture.
• Discuss strategy for pro bono collaboration with sponsors.
• Advise 60 clients about purchase scams and represent 10 clients.