Headshot of Morgan-Colonna

Morgan Colonna

  • Hosted by Central Virginia Legal Aid Society
  • Sponsored by Housing Justice Program
  • Service location Richmond, Virginia
  • Law school University of Richmond School of Law
  • Issue area Housing/Homelessness
  • Fellowship class year 2021
  • Program Housing Justice Program

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.

Needs Addressed by Project

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

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