Gina Clayton-Johnson

  • Hosted by Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem
  • Sponsored by Goldman, Sachs & Co., Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school Harvard Law School
  • Issue area Housing/Homelessness
  • Fellowship class year 2010
  • Program AmeriCorps Fellows Program, Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

During her Fellowship, Gina provided legal services for women with children living in Harlem who were threatened with eviction from public or subsidized housing due to the collateral consequences of criminal charges.

98% of low income people facing eviction go unrepresented. Due to mass incarceration and War on Drugs policies, one in four women has a loved one incarcerated. Women with incarcerated loved ones regularly face housing instability due to losses of household income when a family member is incarcerated; the costs of bail, court, commissary expenses, fines and fees; and policies that lead to tenancy terminations in low income housing resulting from criminal cases. Through direct representation and free tenant legal clinics with the support of pro bono attorneys, this Fellowship keeps women and the family members relying upon them housed. 

Fellowship Highlights 

During the two-year Fellowship, Gina:

  • Designed and implemented a housing defense practice
  • Represented more than 100 low-income women in eviction cases
  • Provided service referrals for more than 400 individuals

Next Steps

Gina Clayton-Johnson is the Founder and Executive Director of Essie Justice Group, the nation’s leading advocacy organization of women with incarcerated loved ones taking on the rampant injustices created by mass incarceration. She is also the central architect of the BREATHE Act, the largest piece of federal legislation delivered to Congress by a social movement. 


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