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Indigo Null

  • Hosted by Baltimore Renters United
  • Sponsored by Housing Justice Program
  • Service location Baltimore, Maryland
  • Issue area Housing/Eviction
  • Fellowship class year 2024
  • Program Housing Justice Program

The Project

Indigo’s project will focus on starting a new Court Watch program in Baltimore City Rent Court in partnership with Baltimore Renters United.

In Baltimore City, less than a quarter of tenants who face eviction hearings have any access to legal advice. Black tenants and women are especially hard hit—currently, over 90% of tenants in Baltimore facing eviction each week are Black, and almost 70% are women, which perpetuates the marginalization and inequality these tenants already face in other areas of life. In most cases, these tenants have a valid eviction defense but do not know their rights and are unable to use these defenses to avoid evictions.

Indigo became passionate about Baltimore’s eviction courts after starting a tenants’ union with their neighbors to fight mass evictions initiated by their landlord in the summer of 2020. They watched dozens of their neighbors, the majority of whom were Black and queer, get put out, turning their building from a lively art and music community to an empty shell. Indigo saw firsthand the way their neighbors’ lives were destabilized by a landlord who wasn’t even operating legally, and they vowed from that point on to battle the system that allowed such injustice.

Fellowship Plans

In partnership with Baltimore Renters United, Indigo will help tenants connect directly with non-profit legal advice and representation to help ensure they know their rights and have support in battling eviction cases. The Rent Court Watch program will collect data on what is happening in Baltimore City’s courts to monitor things like tenant demographics and access to representation. The program will also collect tenant’s firsthand accounts of their experiences and partner with local media outlets to uplift their stories and bring awareness to what happens in the courts. Indigo hopes to use the Rent Court Watch program to prevent evictions and bring more attention from legislators, advocates, and the general public to address the inequality in Baltimore’s Eviction Courts.

Rent Court Watch will help tenants stay in their homes and communities. I was evicted myself, and know the lasting harm it does. Baltimore’s Black community battles so many challenges - arming them with knowledge and the ability to advocate for themselves is crucial.

Indigo Null /
2024 Fellow in the Housing Justice Program

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