Hillary Richard

The Project

Hillary (she/her/hers) serves Minnesotans returning home from prison by providing civil legal aid and coordinating pro bono representation through the Minnesota Collaborative Justice Project.

The Minnesota Collaborative Justice Project aims to improve the experience and outcomes of formerly incarcerated Minnesotans by reducing barriers to successful reentry, including addressing their civil legal needs upon release. Unaddressed civil legal needs often create burdensome barriers to successful reentry. For example, meaningful and sustainable employment is a key factor in reducing recidivism. However, debilitating debts substantially hinder the success of clients by deterring them from participating in the formal economy. In addition, many reentering clients also need help obtaining a valid driver’s license. Reliable transportation is integral to seeking and maintaining employment; it bolsters independence and productivity while relieving stress in everyday interactions by providing accurate identification. Parental incarceration is also often an abrupt and damaging interruption to family life. Reentry provides an opportunity to reestablish parenting time and strengthen the parent-child bond, while sharing the overall responsibility of caregiving.

Fellowship Plans

Hillary will promote successful reentry by offering civil legal services to formerly incarcerated individuals returning to the community in Minnesota. She will recruit pro bono lawyers and legal staff in Minnesota to provide pro bono legal services to reentry clients. She will present quarterly training programs to pro bono attorneys and empower formerly incarcerated individuals by offering triannual ‘know your rights’ programs to address the common civil legal barriers to reentry.

Media

Julia Potach, 3L, Hillary Richard ’21 Named Equal Justice Works Fellows

One tangible way I can support racial and economic justice in my city is by helping to alleviate some of my clients’ stress caused by civil legal issues. The legal work is one means to the end goal of liberation.

Hillary Richard /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Shana will advocate for Minnesotans state-wide who struggle to secure and preserve affordable housing in their communities.

As rent and increasing property taxes push low-income working families out of the Twin Cities area, affordable housing has become more and more difficult to obtain. In 2017, 43% of all renter households in Minnesota spent more than 30% of their income on housing and 22% of all renters spent more than half. Additionally, Minnesotans are losing approximately 1,300 unsubsidized affordable housing units every year, which is only causing this affordable housing gap to widen. When also considering that households of color face extra obstacles in the form of discrimination and mistreatment stemming from a history of intentional exclusion, the problem of lack of affordable, fair housing in Minnesota becomes all the more prominent. This project will work at the state and local level to address the needs of families seeking to secure and keep affordable housing.  

As a first-generation college graduate from Minnesota, Shana is excited to collaborate with others to protect and expand affordable housing in her community.  

Fellowship Plans

Shana and Housing Justice Center will use policy advocacy, litigation, and coalitionbuilding to preserve existing affordable housing and fight for expansion. Through advocating for inclusionary zoning at local government, defending renters’ rights in housing court, and pursuing largerscale fair housing impact litigation, Shana will work to improve access to fair housing and aid those impacted by the housing crisis. 

Media

House panel approves bill to restart RentHelpMN’s application process

Renting can be tough for reformed gang members

My experience working three jobs to put myself through college with an infant ignited my passion to help others achieve stability and prosperity through safe and affordable housing.

Shana Tomenes /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow