Photo of DeAnna B. Smith

DeAnna B. Smith

  • Hosted by Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia
  • Sponsored by Housing Justice Program
  • Service location East End of Newport News, South Norfolk, and Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Issue area Housing/Eviction
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Housing Justice Program

The Project

DeAnna will work with the Attorney Fellows to connect tenants with the legal assistance and knowledge they need to address the systemic problems plaguing local housing markets, provide support to tenants and tenant-led advocacy groups in low-income public and subsidized housing, conduct direct outreach, public information and education sessions, and build and sustain partnerships with local community organizations to provide further support outside of legal assistance.

With six of the top 15 cities with the largest number of tracked evictions in the United States located in Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia’s service area, tenants within these communities’ struggle with obtaining and maintaining safe, affordable housing.

The current policy of public housing authorities in these areas is to reduce the availability of subsidized housing in favor of Housing Choice Vouchers, which has resulted in increasing competition for housing at the bottom tier of the market.

DeAnna has a passion for community education and outreach and continues to build relationships with other community organizations dedicated to social and economic justice for her community and beyond. People power is how movements are successful, and DeAnna will continue to support local community movements and advocacy efforts in Hampton Roads.

Fellowship Plans

DeAnna will support tenants and tenant-led advocacy groups in low-income public and subsidized housing through direct outreach, public information and education sessions, and build and sustain partnerships with local community organizations to provide further support outside of legal assistance.

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