Photo of Liz Butterworth

Liz Butterworth

  • Hosted by AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly
  • Sponsored by Danaher Corporation
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school Harvard Law School
  • Issue area Housing - Affordable Housing/Microfinance
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Liz’s (she/her/hers) project at Legal Counsel for the Elderly will preserve safe and affordable housing for low-income older adults in D.C. through direct representation, outreach, and systemic advocacy, with a focus on building capacity for self-advocacy and collective action.

The affordable housing crisis in D.C. makes it almost impossible for low-income older adults to age in place. Nearly one-third of all extremely low-income renters in D.C. are older adults, and some spend up to 90% of their monthly household income on rent. In addition to being severely rent-burdened, many older adults, including those in units owned by the D.C. Housing Authority (DCHA), live with hazardous conditions like severe mold that endanger their health and safety. There is an immediate need for direct representation to stabilize individual tenancies. To create sustainable and systemic change, there is also a need for lawyers to engage in outreach, community education, and strategize with organized tenant groups to support self-advocacy and collective action.

Fellowship Plans

Liz will represent tenants in administrative hearings and before the D.C. Superior Court Housing Conditions Court to preserve housing subsidies, enforce rent control, and make sure landlords address dangerous conditions of disrepair. At the same time, she will identify and build relationships with organized groups of older adult tenants, including senior building tenant associations. Through outreach, she will listen to tenants’ needs, develop trainings on tenant rights and entitlements, and conduct intakes in the community. Over time, she will identify patterns of landlord abuse and develop litigation strategies that respond to community-defined needs and complement tenant organizing.

Media

Liz Butterworth Honored With the Gants Access to Justice Award

I believe that housing is a human right, that older adults have a right to age in place, and that collective action is the route to justice. I am committed to supporting the self-advocacy and collective power of older adult tenants.

Liz Butterworth /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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Host: Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc.

Sponsor: The Florida Bar Foundation

Darrius Woods

Host: Atlanta Legal Aid Society

Sponsor: Eversheds Sutherland, The Home Depot

Shana Tomenes

Host: Housing Justice Center

Sponsor: Target Corporation

Current Fellow

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Jesse Vogel

Host: Legal Aid Society Of Columbus

Sponsor: Jones Day Foundation, Procter & Gamble Co.

Current Fellow