Natali Collazos

The Project:

Natali focuses on providing low-income tenants a right to counsel and other legal services when they are facing eviction or living in unsafe and unsanitary housing conditions to ensure their rights to stable and secure housing are being protected.

This project seeks to address the lack of legal representation for low-income tenants facing housing related legal issues. Black and Latinx low-income communities disparately face housing insecurity. Being a first-generation Latina immigrant herself, whose parents struggled for a long time to find stability when they first arrived, this topic is a personal one for Natali—that is why she chose to work in this field of law. Natali will provide free and adequate legal counsel to low-income community members who are facing housing instability. She plans to accomplish this through her work on eviction defense, housing code violation cases, and community outreach to help communities know their rights regarding access to safe and secure housing. Everyone should have the right to properly be heard through the guidance of appropriate legal counsel to achieve fair and just outcomes. 

In 2019, Natali was first inspired to do housing justice work while in Washington D.C. On her way to work each day, she would walk by persons who were unhoused. She felt great empathy for these people and felt helpless to aid them—feelings which were exacerbated by COVID-19. Natali knows that a person’s home is the foundational building block for that person to lead a safe, stable, and happy life.

Fellowship Plans:

Natali plans to address this problem by focusing a large part of her efforts on the Access to Counsel in Eviction Program (ACE) at Maryland Legal Aid. In ACE, Natali will use her lawyering skills to help with direct client services. She will also focus a large part of her efforts on the community outreach portion of this Fellowship. She will work with her colleagues to address the systemic issues found in low-income tenant’s lack of access to counsel when facing housing insecurity and unsafe housing conditions to create a proactive approach instead of a reactive one. Seeing as she is also fluent in Spanish, she will dedicate her efforts as best as possible to help tenants who feel more comfortable speaking Spanish.