Kateland Woodcock

The Project

Kateland’s Fellowship seeks to address the eviction crisis in Virginia, which has several localities that are top ten evictors across the county for large cities and mid-size cities. Tenants faced with eviction are often not present in court or do not have a lawyer with them. Additionally, tenants frequently do not know their rights or what resources are available to help them navigate housing issues. Anyone who rents a place to live can be affected by housing issues, but they disproportionately affect indigent persons and people of color.

Kateland’s interest in housing began in her childhood, when she saw a mother and multiple children crammed into a small place because anything larger was outside the mother’s income, and the mother lacked resources to help. As an adult, Kateland learned about how housing instability can affect someone’s health and income, among other things, which inspired her to be part of the 2019 Housing Justice Program cohort. She is excited to continue her work in housing, and help this new cohort of the program with its expanded goals.

Fellowship Plans

Kateland plans to tackle the eviction crisis in a multifaceted way. She will focus on the direct representation of clients with housing law issues in court. Another facet of her project will include working with community organizers to help educate the public, with a specific eye towards those more often affected by the crisis. Kateland will collaborate with all involved parties in the project to inform them of areas where the current law fails to protect tenants. She will work with other Fellows, stakeholders, and the surrounding community to achieve housing justice.

The Project

Through the Housing Justice Program, Morgan seeks to increase equal access to justice for low-income tenants who are facing housing instability and involuntary displacement, particularly due to eviction.

The Housing Justice Program receives philanthropic support from The JPB Foundation.

Morgan’s project seeks to address the eviction crisis in Richmond, where eviction rates are among the highest in the country. With no right to counsel in civil housing cases, low-income tenants are often left to represent themselves in court. However, statistics show that a tenant’s chances of success in court greatly increase with representation, particularly in cases where the landlord has an attorney. Morgan seeks to help close this justice gap in Richmond by ensuring more tenants have equal access to justice when they are facing housing issues.

Morgan has been providing direct representation to tenants in housing cases in Richmond, Virginia since 2016. For over four years, she worked as a pro bono attorney in the neighborhood office of a large law firm, exclusively serving low-income clients. Having seen first-hand the snowball effect that housing instability can have on a person or a family, she is passionate about assisting tenants in taking steps toward breaking the cycle of poverty and achieving housing stability.

Fellowship Plans

Morgan will provide advice and direct representation to low-income tenants facing adverse housing actions. Morgan will work to educate residents in the greater Richmond area about their housing rights, and will collaborate with other members of the Housing Justice Program to address greater systemic housing issues. Through her project, Morgan will help Central Virginia Legal Aid Society to strengthen the services provided to clients who are experiencing housing instability.

Media

Tackling Housing Instability Through Medical-Legal Partnerships

I have seen first-hand the snowball effect that housing instability can have on a person or family. Through this project, I want to help effect positive change for tenants. I want to help turn the tide of the eviction crisis in Richmond.

Morgan Colonna /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Kateland’s project seeks to address the eviction crisis in Richmond, Virginia, as well as in surrounding areas. Richmond, Virginia has the second highest eviction rate for large cities in the country. Petersburg, Virginia has the second highest eviction rate for mid-size cities in the country, and Hopewell, Virginia has the fourth highest eviction rate for mid-sized cities. Part of the issue surrounding eviction is that tenants oftentimes are not present in court or do not have a lawyer with them at court. Any person who rents a place to live can be affected by this issue, but it disproportionately affects people of lower income and minorities.

Kateland plans to tackle the eviction crisis in a multifaceted way. The largest part of her focus will be direct representation of clients with housing law issues in court. Another part of her focus will be working with community organizers to help educate the public, with a specific eye towards those more often affected by the crisis. A final part of her focus will be working with all the groups involved in the project to inform them of areas where the current law fails to protect tenants.

Kateland’s interest in housing began in her childhood, when she saw a mother and multiple children crammed into a small place because anything larger was outside the mother’s grasp. As an adult, Kateland learned about how housing instability can affect someone’s health and income, among other things. When she learned that her beloved community’s eviction rate was so high, she knew she had to help.

Media

Building a Better Future Together

Six Things Every Public Interest Lawyer Should Know About Housing Work

Landlords Can’t Evict Their Tenants, So They're Shutting Off Utilities and Threatening Them Instead

I wanted to start my career strong—I wanted to work in an area of law that I would stay in, not something that I would practice for a year and then quickly switch to something else. That's why I applied for the Housing Justice Program.

Kateland Alan Woodcock /
2019 Fellow in the Housing Justice Program

The Inspiration