Photo of Stephanie Champion

Stephanie Champion

  • Hosted by Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas
  • Sponsored by Texas Access to Justice Foundation
  • Service location Dallas, Texas
  • Law school University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
  • Issue area Community Economic Development/Microfinance and Related Transactional Legal Projects
  • Fellowship class year 2017
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Stephanie equipped local residents and community groups in West Dallas with legal tools and strategies to advocate for equitable development in their neighborhoods in order to enhance social and economic opportunity.

West Dallas is a low-income majority minority community with a long history of disinvestment and neglect. Recently, the area has seen rapid development due to the 2012 opening of the $93 million Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge that connects West Dallas to downtown. These new developments have posed a serious threat to existing low-income residents who have already begun to bear the burden of the negative externalities that have inevitably resulted, such as rising rents and property taxes. With countless new projects in the works, it is imperative that the residents of West Dallas have a meaningful voice in the decision-making processes that affect their community so as to actively combat the displacement pressures of gentrification and ensure that new area development is responsible, equitable, and accountable to them.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Stephanie has:

  • Conducted extensive outreach and community education workshops on issues related to fair housing, community development, and environmental justice
  • Strengthened the capacity of numerous neighborhood associations and other grassroots groups through legal advice and assistance related to organizational governance, legal formation, and 501(c)(3) status
  • Represented community groups and coalitions in negotiations with housing developers and industrial operators seeking zoning changes and other entitlements from the City of Dallas
  • Advocated for tenants’ rights and anti-displacement policies on behalf of low-income residents as part of the City of Dallas Housing Policy Taskforce
  • Filed a federal housing and consumer rights lawsuit to challenge discriminatory and predatory mortgage lending practices in West Dallas

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Stephanie plans to continue fighting for equitable and inclusive development in West Dallas and work in partnership with a local Community Development Corporation to establish the first Community Land Trust in Dallas.

Meet Other Fellows Like Stephanie

View All

Nicholas Leonard

Host: Great Lakes Environmental Law Center

Sponsor: Deere & Co., Lane & Waterman LLP, Schiff Hardin LLP

Kelsey Ripper

Host: Lawyers Alliance for New York

Sponsor: Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP

Natasha Reyes

Host: Public Counsel

Sponsor: Arnold & Porter Foundation

Nicole Prenoveau

Host: Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A

Sponsor: AIG, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP