/ Press Release
Program Builds on Organization’s Work to Mobilize Lawyers and Community Organizers to Combat Unlawful Evictions
WASHINGTON, D.C., AUGUST 20, 2019—Equal Justice Works, the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, today announced the launch of the Housing Justice Program, a new Fellowship program aimed at helping families currently or at risk of experiencing housing instability in the Greater Richmond Region. Attorneys selected to be Equal Justice Works Fellows will serve at legal services organizations in Richmond and provide free legal services in the local community.
Richmond has the second highest rate of eviction among large cities in the United States according to an analysis by Princeton University’s Eviction Lab, which participated in stakeholder interviews as part of the city selection process. In addition, Equal Justice Works consulted with leaders from nonprofit organizations, legal services organizations, and community groups, as well as community members who have experienced housing instability themselves in choosing Richmond for the Housing Justice Program.
“For many residents in Richmond, having legal representation can mean the difference between staying in their homes and being involuntarily displaced,” said David Stern, executive director at Equal Justice Works. “We are proud to launch the Housing Justice Program to ensure the availability of lawyers who will work to keep people and families in their homes and off the streets. This program serves as a pilot initiative for Equal Justice Works as we continue to expand our efforts to combat the scourge of unlawful evictions across our country.”
The Equal Justice Works Housing Justice Program places six lawyers and two community organizers at Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, Legal Aid Justice Center, and Virginia Poverty Law Center, to serve low-income individuals and families facing evictions and/or other manifestations of housing instability. Over the course of a two-year program term, Fellows and community organizers will provide a combination of services including client representation; community outreach and education to community members and property owners; and strategic partnership building. Additionally, Fellows will expand the capacity of the legal services organizations where they serve to ensure greater access to legal services for residents facing the possibility of eviction.
Over the past three decades, Equal Justice Works has awarded more than 2,000 Fellowships to lawyers committed to public service. More than 85 percent of Fellows remain in public service, continuing to pursue equal justice for underserved communities across the country.
The Housing Justice Program is made possible thanks to the generosity of The JPB Foundation. Visit the Equal Justice Works website to learn more about the Housing Justice Program.
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. Visit www.equaljusticeworks.org for more information.
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