Alison Slagowitz

The Project

The project focuses on individual dispossessory proceedings, substandard housing conditions, as well as individual and systemic tenant rights violations.

Alison is the right person for the project because she is a deep believer in a holistic approach to community redevelopment. The cost to avail oneself of the civil judicial process has a severe disparate impact on the most vulnerable segments of our society. Alison believes that many landlords of low-income tenants have become complacent with the judicial eviction system and housing laws because their tenants generally did not have an advocate. Her proudest moments are when she can provide a voice for such tenants, affirm their instincts on right and wrong, and relieve anxiety by empowering them to retain housing.

Fellowship Highlights

During the Fellowship period, Alison:

  • Established a court and community presence so that she is known and respected as the GLSP housing attorney in her region. She has already received clients that were referred to her by the court, other attorneys, and previous clients.
  • Provided community education through seminars on Georgia & Federal Housing law.
  • Filed affirmative cases against landlords that systemically discriminate against and provide sub-rate services to low-income tenants.
  • Built relationships with private attorneys that represent landlords and PHAs.

Media

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Georgia Legal Services selected for Racial Justice Institute

The Project

This project is addressing the needs of those in poverty or low-income households and providing legal advice and representation.

Shannon is the right person for the project because of his passion. He has the strong opinion that poverty or financial situation should not be a detriment to having adequate legal advice and representation. He also believe that a project wishing to accomplish such goals as helping those who are not in best financial position should be composed of those who feel passionate about the cause. His passion and Georgia Legal Services Program goals are congruent. His host organization allows him to dedicate the time and energy necessary make an actual impact on the community.

 

The Project

Chad will provide representation to tenants who reside in subsidized housing across 27 counties in the Northeast Georgia area. Chad will represent tenants in lease termination and eviction cases, as well as in cases involving a range of other occupancy issues, such as rent calculation, assessment of illegal fees, and failure to make repairs. Chad will also work on issues related to preservation of affordable housing, and protecting the rights of tenants affected by a loss of subsidized units, as those issues arise.

Chad is the right person for the project because for the past two years, he has been working on housing preservation issues with Georgia Legal Services, focusing on RAD conversions, potential expiration of project-based Section 8 HAP contracts, prepayment of Rural Housing Services 515 mortgages, and loss of LIHTC units through the qualified contract process. During that time, he represented tenants living at affected properties on a range of issues.

Fellowship Highlights

During the Fellowship period, Chad set up an efficient intake process, begin representing tenants, and begin to identify trends or larger issues affecting tenants in the region.

The Project

The goal of the project is to empower families and communities impacted by heirs property through the provision of technical and legal services required to fully realize and increase the economic benefits of home ownership.

Alexandria is the right person for the project because she cares about people and believes people who care are always the right fit when it comes to helping those in need.

The Project

Helping heirs property owners remediate fractured title, increase equity, and transfer wealth to the next generation through title clearing, wills creation, estate planning, education, and facilitating access to government, private sector, and non-profit home improvement programs.

Extensive research conducted in Georgia shows that heirs property exists in approximately 10% of the homes through rural and urban communities. Heirs property creates an unstable form of ownership that limits a family’s ability to build wealth and access the equity and their property. Heirs property often becomes abandoned, leaving taxes unpaid and a municipality unable to identify the owners to enforce local safety ordinances or acquire the land as part of community redevelopment efforts. Heirs property also hampers the efforts of non-profits and municipalities to preserve affordable housing and ensure safe habitable homes for low-income families.

Fellowship Highlights

During the Fellowship period, Gentry will:

  • Conduct intake calls with potential clients.
  • Lead family meetings to facilitate agreements regarding property goals.
  • Prepare estate plans.
  • Assist clients with family trees.
  • Assist clients with probate.
  • Prepare memoranda, court pleadings, motions and briefs.
  • Draft and record deeds.
  • Coordinate outreach and present training on heirs property remediation and prevention.

The Project

Atlanta Legal Aid of Cobb County’s Eviction Clinic provides information about the eviction process, the eviction court procedural process, and an overview of Georgia law. The clinic also provides free consultation and representation to low-income tenants.

The Eviction Clinic will inform tenants of their rights and responsibilities when facing eviction. This clinic will give information to all tenants and provide access to legal services to those that would otherwise be unable to afford representation.

John is the right person for the project because he previously assisted and represented low-income clients while working with Atlanta Legal Aid and the Georgia Department of Human Services. Before coming to law school, John taught high school courses in a Title-I School.

Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship

During the Fellowship period, John advised clients, wrote demand letters, and negotiate with landlords. He represented clients facing eviction in magistrate court. He expanded the eviction clinic and raised tenant awareness.

The Project

My work spans all of AVLF’s housing programs in the Safe and Stable Homes Project. I assist with the Standing With Our Neighbors (SWON) Initiative, a community-based legal clinic that increases housing stability in high poverty neighborhoods via school-centered partnerships. I also assist with the Saturday Lawyer Program and the Eviction Defense Program. I directly represent clients in eviction defense cases and affirmative landlord-tenant cases while also providing outreach and presentations to community groups to increase self-advocacy efforts.

Providing legal representation to clients in Fulton and Clayton Counties; working with AVLF’s colleagues and community partners to prevent neighborhood displacement (including school enrollment turnover and absenteeism rates), and ensuring safe and healthy living conditions; educating clients, families, and community members about their right to safe and affordable housing.

I have dedicated my entire career to serving economically-, racially-, and politically-marginalized communities. I have the legal background as a civil rights litigator, and the background as an educator to understand the unique intersection of education and legal services that is at the heart of the Standing With Our Neighbors Initiative. I understand the role that lawyers can play in advancing the rights of marginalized individuals, while also recognizing that, when they are educated about their rights, and encouraged to use their own agency, families and communities can pursue self advocacy efforts to make a difference in their lives. Lastly, I have lived in Atlanta for nearly 19 years and I want to be a part of transforming the way that the metro Atlanta area addresses the pressing needs of its most vulnerable citizens.

Fellowship Plans

I will spend the first six months learning about the range of services provided by AVLF’s Safe and Stable Homes Project. I will work with my Standing With Our Neighbors colleagues and visit the community-based sites and neighborhoods; attend the Saturday Lawyers Program; represent individual clients in their landlord-tenant cases; connect with AVLF partner law firms; and brainstorm legal strategies to pursue larger impact cases.

Media

Making Good on the Promise of Fair, Safe, and Affordable Housing

The Project

In Georgia and around the country, an individual’s criminal record creates a significant barrier to finding stable housing—a crucial deterrent to recidivism and an essential component of successful reintegration into the community. Sixty-six percent of landlords and property managers will not accept an applicant with a criminal history. Natasha’s project will expand the Georgia Justice Project’s direct service, education, and policy efforts in order to address access to housing for people with a criminal record.

As a former public defender, Natasha has seen first-hand just how crucial access to stable housing is for individuals involved in the criminal justice system. Through her work with the Wrongful Convictions Clinic at Duke Law School, she also became acutely aware of the collateral consequences that a criminal record can have for an individual. She aims to reduce systemic barriers to housing for individuals with a criminal history through policy advocacy, education, and direct representation.

Fellowship Plans

  • Eliminate barriers to housing for people with criminal records by assisting clients with record restriction (expungement), sealing, retroactive first offender, corrections, pardons, and other matters related to their criminal history.
  • Promote statewide education to ensure compliance with state and federal guidance, including HUD’s November 2015 Guidance and April 2016 Guidance, which laid out substantial limitations to the consideration of criminal records in public and private housing decisions.
  • Work with the Reentry Housing Work Group, which consists of private and public stakeholders, to advocate for criminal justice reforms that will improve access to housing for justice-involved individuals.

I am very grateful to Equal Justice Works and the Georgia Bar Foundation for their support of my work and the work of the other legal Fellows and community advocates, as we help remove barriers to housing.

Natasha Alladina /
Equal Justice Works

The Project

As an Equal Justice Works Fellow, Erik represented low-income tenants in Atlanta’s Vine City, English Avenue, Ashview Heights, and Atlanta University Center neighborhoods who face unlawful evictions and have unresolved conditions and repairs. His project aimed to preserve affordable housing on Atlanta’s Westside by preventing displacement and improving substandard living conditions.

Fellowship Highlights

During his Fellowship, Erik:

  • $115,000 settlement offer received for 5 families living in substandard living conditions.
  • Provided Know Your Rights presentations to approximately 750 Westside families.
  • Directed representation for 80 Westside families
  • Helped to reduce the overall transient rate for Hollis Academy

Next Steps

Erik is an Identity and Fraud Consultant with Equifax. He works to manage and improve the suite of consumer identity management product solutions for digital and in-person consumer interactions. Erik remains committed to housing justice and works on housing matters throughout Metro Atlanta.

Media

On Second Thought - The Fair Housing Act

Making Good on the Promise of Fair, Safe, and Affordable Housing

I am helping to prevent displacement and stabilize four of our country’s most culturally relevant neighborhoods.

Erik Provitt /
2017 Equal Justice Works Fellow