Photo of Emily Chong

Emily Chong

  • Hosted by Neighborhood Legal Services Program
  • Sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school Georgetown University Law Center
  • Issue area Housing/Homelessness
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Emily provided affirmative legal representation, community education, and policy advocacy to help low-income Washington, D.C., residents overcome obstacles to accessing housing, including unlawful discrimination.

More than 26,000 extremely low-income Washington, D.C., households are unstably housed, and approximately 7,500 D.C. residents are homeless at a given point in time, one of the highest rates of homelessness in the country. Individuals regularly face illegal housing denials based on source of income, criminal history, and credit history. In particular, source of income discrimination, at all points in the housing process, is rampant. Most D.C. legal services providers focus on emergency eviction defense, which addresses acute needs, but does not help people trying to access stable housing and overcome discriminatory housing denials. Many individuals who are denied housing lack legal representation and do not know their legal rights. Thus, many are forced to stay in unsafe, unaffordable, or unstable housing conditions, or they are forced into homelessness.

Fellowship Highlights

During the Fellowship period, Emily:

  • Provided full representation to over 40 low-income D.C. residents working to access housing in 70 case matters, including representation in discrimination cases at D.C. Superior Court and D.C. Office of Human Rights, as well as advocacy and negotiation efforts to secure stable housing
  • Conducted over 60 Know Your Rights presentations on topics including source of income discrimination and housing protections, reaching more than 2,400 individuals
  • Implemented a referral system for social services and legal organizations and conducted four trainings for social services organization staff, case managers, and housing case handlers in the D.C. area
  • Developed and disseminated over 5,000 fact sheets on topics including tips for voucher holders when applying to housing, the Fair Criminal Record Screening for Housing Act, and Fair Housing material geared towards housing non-profits
  • Collaborated with over 20 other organizations to expand the impact and reach of the project

Next Steps

Following her Fellowship, Emily has stayed on at Neighborhood Legal Services Program as a staff attorney, where she continues to work with low-income D.C. residents to overcome obstacles to accessing housing. Her caseload has expanded to include additional anti-displacement matters and eviction defense.

Meet Other Fellows Like Emily

View All

Andrew Neuhauser

Host: Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc.

Sponsor: Ohio Access to Justice Foundation

Sara Simon Tompkins

Host: National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty

Sponsor: Individual Donors, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Vallen Solomon

Host: King County Bar Association's Housing Justice Project

Sponsor: Costco Wholesale, The Raikes Foundation

Current Fellow

Michael Deemer

Host: Ohio State Legal Services Association

Sponsor: Ohio Access to Justice Foundation