Michelle (she/her/hers) will advocate for the passage of a Tenant Right to Counsel law in South Carolina to prevent eviction and displacement of low-income and African American households.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, South Carolina faced a long-term housing crisis, having the highest eviction rate in the U.S., nearly twice that of any other state, according to Princeton University’s Eviction Lab. There were more than 162,000 eviction filings in South Carolina in 2019. North Charleston is the nation’s number one eviction market: 16.5 in 100 renters were evicted in 2016, which equates to 10 evictions per day. Columbia, South Carolina is the eighth-worst in the nation, with 8.22 in 100 renters evicted.
The state has few tenant rights and filing for eviction only requires five days’ notice and a $50 fee. As a result, South Carolina averaged 400 to 500 evictions a day from 2015 to 2019.
Michelle’s career in public service motivates the marrying of her unique community development finance experience with the practice of law to represent community voices in championing public policy for racial and economic justice.
Michelle will work collaboratively to establish the infrastructure to support a statewide housing justice alliance, a tenant rights campaign, and a civil tenant-right to counsel law in South Carolina. She will engage directly with tenants to address a root cause of poverty in the state by preventing evictions and the repercussions associated with those evictions. Additionally, she will seek to draw from and replicate aspects of the Equal Justice Works Housing Justice Program, which mobilized a cohort of Fellows to serve low-income individuals residing in Richmond, Virginia who experienced housing instability and involuntary displacement, particularly due to eviction.
As a direct descendant of South Carolina’s Gullah Geechee people, I believe I owe a debt to my ancestors and an obligation to my descendants to leave a more equitable and just South Carolina.
Michelle Mapp /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow