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Equal Justice Works Awarded $3.75 Million in Grants to continue its Housing Justice Program

/ Press Release

Investments from The JPB Foundation and JPMorgan Chase will support organization’s work to mobilize lawyers and community organizers to disrupt unlawful evictions as well as housing discrimination and instability through its Housing Justice Program.

WASHINGTON, D.C., NOVEMBER 16, 2021—Equal Justice Works, the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, today announced that it has investments totaling $3.75 million from The JPB Foundation and JPMorgan Chase to continue its Housing Justice Program.

“Equal Justice Works is privileged to partner with The JPB Foundation and JPMorgan Chase to disrupt the vicious cycle of evictions for people experiencing poverty,” said Hana Hausnerova, director of public programs at Equal Justice Works. “These grants support the organization’s commitment to mobilizing passionate public service leaders who will work together to advance housing justice.”

Since 1993, Equal Justice Works has mobilized more than 250 Fellows (lawyers and community organizers) to combat housing instability at the individual, community, and systemic level. In 2019, the organization created the Housing Justice Program, placing eight Fellows (six lawyers and two community organizers) at legal services organizations in the Greater Richmond Region of Virginia, to serve low-income individuals and families facing evictions. In its first two years of operation, the Fellows conducted more than 300 in-person and virtual trainings for tenants in the community, prevented more than 4,800 tenants from being evicted, and organized to win a citywide moratorium on public housing evictions that was extended in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fellows were also instrumental in coordinating public pressure campaigns that yielded multiple new codified tenant protections, making it more difficult to evict residents from their homes.

The investments from The JPB Foundation and JPMorgan Chase support the organization’s efforts to expand the Housing Justice Program into other jurisdictions with high eviction rates in Virginia and beyond, including Hampton Roads, Virginia, a region encompassing four of the top-ten evicting cities in the country. Working together, the 21 Fellows (lawyers and community organizers) will provide legal assistance to tenants in eviction proceedings; engage in high impact litigation to stop predatory landlords; build collaborative partnerships with community organizations; and advocate for policies and practices that protect the rights of tenants. The program will place special emphasis on serving low-income people of color and residents of public housing.

“At JPMorgan Chase, we believe that housing stability and affordability are essential to building wealth. However, safe and affordable housing is out of reach for many families, especially in the wake of the economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.” said Abigail Suarez, Head of Neighborhood Development, JPMorgan Chase. “We are pleased to support Equal Justice Works efforts to help address systemic barriers in the housing system and provide much needed housing stability, especially for Black, Latino and Hispanic families.”

Equal Justice Works will expand the Housing Justice Program in two phases. In phase one legal services organizations in Virginia will be selected to host 12 Fellows to begin their Fellowships in January 2022. In phase two, Equal Justice Works will partner with organizations in other jurisdictions, such as Charleston, South Carolina, to place 9 Fellows who will begin their terms in September 2022.

The Housing Justice Program is made possible thanks to the generosity of The JPB Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. Visit here to learn more about program. 

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About Equal Justice Works

Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for lawyers to transform their passion for public service into a lifelong commitment to equal justice. As the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, Equal Justice Works brings together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, nonprofit legal aid organizations, and supporters to promote public service and inspire a lifelong commitment to equal justice.

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