Equal Justice Works Logomark

Benjamin Apt

  • Hosted by Legal Aid Justice Center
  • Sponsored by Housing Justice Program
  • Service location Falls Church, Virginia
  • Law school Boston University School of Law
  • Issue area Housing/Eviction
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Housing Justice Program

The Project

Ben’s project comprised several elements, including direct litigation on behalf of clients facing eviction, know-your-rights presentations, and community organizing to raise awareness of the economic vulnerabilities that very low-income tenants, many of whom are immigrants, face. This Fellowship aimed to foster the growth of affordable housing programs for low-income residents in Northern Virginia through research, representation, and advocacy.

The constituency that Legal Aid Justice Center serves in Falls Church typically has very low incomes (40%/AMI or below), and many clients face language barriers. Clients are often fearful of exposure to immigration authorities and are unaware that they can pursue their rights as residential tenants regardless of their immigrant status. Evictions of low-income tenants are rising, which is mainly due to the ascension of rental prices in the region. The arrival of Amazon’s and Boeing’s new major office complexes in Falls Church led this market alteration.

As a young child, Ben’s parents engaged in fair housing efforts in their community, and even at a young age, Ben understood the nature and reasons for their volunteer work in this area. Their efforts made a lasting impression on Ben that can be seen in this project. Ben has also long been concerned about tendencies to treat immigrants as second-class humans. This Fellowship allowed Ben to combine these issues and work to mitigate their effects on communities in Virginia.

Fellowship Highlights

Ben provided legal advice and representation to low-income tenants who are facing eviction notices and extremely poor housing conditions. Additionally, Ben worked with tenant groups to encourage local politicians to expand rental stock for low-income families and institute local legal protections (such as continuing some of the eviction protections that existed during the Virginia Rental Relief Program responding to COVID-19).


Meet the Fellows in Our 2022 Housing Justice Program

Meet Other Fellows Like Benjamin

View All

Headshot of Olivia Seksinsky

Olivia Seksinsky

Host: Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, Inc.

Sponsor: Housing Justice Program

Current Fellow

Headshot of DiNesha Rucker

DiNesha Rucker

Host: Homeless Persons Representation Project, Inc.

Sponsor: Housing Justice Program

Current Fellow

Headshot of Taylor Rumble

Taylor Rumble

Host: Charleston Legal Access

Sponsor: Housing Justice Program

Current Fellow

Headshot of Emily Blackshire

Emily Blackshire

Host: South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center

Sponsor: Housing Justice Program

Current Fellow