Photo of Tiffany Uke

Tiffany Uke

  • Hosted by Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas
  • Sponsored by Texas Access to Justice Foundation Richard L. Tate Rural Justice Fellowship
  • Service location Wichita Falls, Texas
  • Law school Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law
  • Issue area Community/Economic Development, Housing/Homelessness
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Tiffany (she/her/hers) will provide for the economic empowerment of women experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Wichita Falls, Texas and the surrounding rural communities through direct representation, on-site intake at service provider locations, and community outreach.

The Texas Homeless Network estimates that in 2019 more than 8,000 people experienced homelessness in 215 rural Texas counties; additionally, in a 2020 report, the Texas Tribune showed that rural homelessness in Texas was up 33%. COVID-19 continues to pose risks for those experiencing homelessness as social services have become more limited, and the economic effects of the pandemic have put more Americans at risk of homelessness. With this trend of increasing homelessness, it is important to note that women’s homelessness is highly associated with exacerbating factors such as domestic violence and sexual exploitation/harassment, violent victimization, human trafficking, and trauma—all of which deteriorate mental health. Rural, low-income Texans already have difficulty accessing basic legal services; furthermore, rural areas in Texas generally lack dedicated resources to find and aid those experiencing homelessness, leaving churches and faith-based organizations as some of the few community lifelines.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Tiffany will focus on homelessness and homelessness prevention for women in the rural communities served by the Wichita Falls office of Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas. She will create and maintain partnerships with local non-profit and faith-based organizations that serve women experiencing or at risk of homelessness through outreach and on-site community intake to make civil legal aid accessible to this population. Tiffany will remove barriers to employment and sustainable housing by handling expunctions and nondisclosures of criminal records and litigating civil protective orders. Additionally, she will conduct community surveys to collect data on the additional legal needs of these women.

I do not know what it is like to be a homeless woman living in rural Texas. I do know, however, that it is my calling to use my legal knowledge to transform society into one that uplifts the marginalized.

Tiffany Uke /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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Host: Florida Rural Legal Services Inc.

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Sponsor: Crowell & Moring Foundation

Michael Haber

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Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

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George Thomas

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

Sponsor: Ohio Access to Justice Foundation