The following are examples of how recent VAHPP and TECDev Legal Fellows, Community Organizers and Community Advocates brought access to equal justice to low-income and underserved communities throughout the country.
"My experience with the tenants is what fuels my project and keeps it so close to my heart." Tatyana Manning is a 2016 VISTA Affordable Housing Preservation Project (VAHPP) Fellow of Legal Services of Greater Miami in Miami, Florida.
The AmeriCorps VISTA Affordable Housing Preservation Project (VAHPP) dispatches attorneys and tenant organizers to help save low-income, project-based Section 8 housing from losing their contracts. My job, more specifically, is to enter properties with poor living conditions and notices of non-renewal. I organize the tenants and help them increase capacity by providing them with team-building skills and legal support... Read more about Tatyana's experience here.
"I am learning my job, as well as lots of new names and friendly faces." Keith Syler is a 2016 VISTA Tenant Engagement and Community Economic Development (TECDev) Fellow of Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio in Cincinnati, Ohio.
I am fortunate to serve as an Equal Justice Works Americorps TECDev Fellow in Cincinnati. My project is hosted by the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, which has a long and impressive record of protecting and preserving public housing... Read more about Keith's experience here.
"Tenant self-advocacy in collaboration with community lawyers, tenant organizers, and HUD can result in amazing positive changes in project-based Section 8 buildings!" Natalie Minev is a 2015 VISTA Affordable Housing Preservation Project (VAHPP) Fellow of Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA.
Julia is elderly, disabled, and Mandarin-speaking, with very limited English proficiency. She has lived at Van Nuys Apartments, a 299-unit project-based Section 8 building in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, for two years. This diverse building is the home to predominantly elderly, disabled tenants who speak Korean, Chinese, and Spanish.... Read more about Natalie's experience here.
"I joined the AmeriCorps VISTA program to make a difference, give back to my community, and reignite the passion I had lost after years of feeling stuck in an unhappy workplace." Ivie Bien-Aime is a 2017 VISTA Affordable Housing Preservation Project (VAHPP) Community Organizer of Tenants and Neighbors in New York, NY.
There I was, 49 years old, a college graduate with good job skills, ten years into a career field I love yet frustrated with the environment. So what did I do? I quit! ... Read more about Ivie's experience here.
"I was more than happy to quit two jobs to do something more meaningful." Cherai Mills is a 2016 VISTA Affordable Housing Preservation Project (VAHPP) Community Organizer of Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.
I help to organize, train, and provide technical assistance to tenants groups in Eastern and Central Massachusetts living in privately owned, HUD-subsidized multifamily housing, who contracts expire within the next five years... Read more about Cherai's experience here.
"As an AmeriCorps VISTA Community Organizer at the Tenants Union of Washington, the housing crisis in Seattle is at the forefront of every day." Amy Tower is a 2016 VISTA Affordable Housing Preservation Project (VAHPP) Community Organizer of Tenants Union of Washington in Seattle, Washington.
I have spent my entire life in Seattle, growing up in the greenery and under-appreciating the mountain vistas that miraculously appear on clear days... Read more about Amy's experience here.