Photo of Oliver Telusma

Oliver Telusma

  • Hosted by Community Justice Project
  • Sponsored by The Florida Bar Foundation
  • Service location Miami, Florida
  • Law school Florida A&M University College of Law
  • Issue area Community Economic Development/Microfinance and Related Transactional Legal Projects, Housing - Affordable Housing/Microfinance
  • Fellowship class year 2021
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Oliver’s (he/him/his) project focuses on preventing COVID-19 fueled evictions of small businesses and residential renters at high risk of displacement in south Florida through direct legal representation, policy advocacy, and movement lawyering.

Florida municipalities have very few protections to offer low-income renters and small businesses facing pressures of the increased cost of living. As a result, renters who live paycheck to paycheck—disproportionately Black and Latinx renters—are at an increased risk of eviction. Many of these evictions take place in low-income neighborhoods already under pressure from developers looking to gentrify historically Black and Latinx communities. Oliver’s work has been focused on providing legal support to individuals and small businesses connected to historically Black and Latinx neighborhoods, and strengthening protections for renters at the municipal and county levels.

Oliver sees this work as the continuation of a multi-generational struggle to protect the most marginalized in South Florida.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

In the first year of the Fellowship, Oliver has:

  • Co-run a weekly eviction defense clinic under the supervision of an attorney that provides pro se support to renters in their eviction matters
  • Provided referrals and legal advice under supervising attorneys on topics including evictions and filing answers pro se
  • Provided legal strategy to clients that successfully advocated for an unprecedented expansion of tenant legal protections in Miami-Dade County
  • Provided legal support to tenants that successfully leveraged demands made to their landlord to receive concessions and rental support
  • Helped with legal research requests made by clients in Allapattah to combat gentrification of a public library
  • Delivered presentations on the legal protections available to renters in Miami-Dade County and more broadly in Florida

Next Steps

In the next year, Oliver plans to:

  • Work to expand the capacity of the weekly eviction defense clinic
  • Increase the number of clients represented directly in eviction actions
  • Triage and identify opportunities for impact litigation

Media

FAMU Law 2021 Graduate Oliver Telusma Receives Equal Justice Works Fellowship to Help People Avoid Eviction

FAMU College of Law grad receives Equal Justice Works Fellowship

This wasn’t just a chance to work for the Community Justice Project, but to fight for equity and justice for marginalized people in the very community that my story started.

Oliver Telusma /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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Host: Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. / Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc.

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Gregory Alan Jackson Jr.

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Oshuteiya Campbell

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Sponsor: The Florida Bar Foundation

Darrius Woods

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Sponsor: Eversheds Sutherland, The Home Depot