Evelina Nava

  • Hosted by Project Sentinel
  • Sponsored by Intel Corporation, Perkins Coie LLP
  • Service location San Francisco, California
  • Law school University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Issue area Housing/Homelessness
  • Fellowship class year 2015
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Evelina will provide legal advocacy and outreach to low-income tenants, including monolingual Spanish speakers, in California’s Silicon Valley to improve rental housing conditions and help combat slum housing.

Low-income tenants often struggle to resolve habitability problems such as mold and vermin infestations which impact their families’ health. Without legal assistance, many of them face unresponsive landlords and risk retaliatory evictions for requesting repairs. Moreover, many tenants lack adequate legal assistance because of their undocumented status. Undocumented immigrants are especially vulnerable due to a host of factors, including limited English proficiency, insufficient income to move to safer housing, and fear of landlord retaliation leading to deportation. These problems are compounded by a current shortage in Santa Clara County of nearly 54,000 affordable housing units for its lowest-income residents. While the county is home to over 170,000 undocumented immigrants, rental prices in San Jose (the county’s biggest city) are among the highest in the nation. Recently, apartment rents in San Jose increased more than in any other U.S. city. Currently, almost 60 percent of very low-income households pay more than 50 percent of their income in rent in Santa Clara County. At the same time, there is no “just cause” eviction policy in San Jose, where over 40 percent of households are renters.

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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