/ Blog Post
A Public-Private Partnership to Combat Housing Injustice in Virginia
Virginia is home to five of the top ten evicting large cities in the United States—a housing crisis affecting thousands of tenants across the state who need legal representation. Yet for too many, our justice system is inaccessible. Since 1993, Equal Justice Works has mobilized more than 250 lawyers and community organizers to combat housing instability. In 2021, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and The JPB Foundation invested a total of $3.75 million to provide Equal Justice Works with the resources to expand its Housing Justice Program from Richmond, Virginia, to other communities with high eviction rates, such as Hampton Roads.
In January, representatives from Equal Justice Works, The JPB Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Virginia Poverty Law Center, came together to discuss how public-private partnerships can help increase capacity of the legal aid community in Virginia, provide legal assistance to low-income families facing eviction, and advocate for policies and practices that protect the rights of tenants.
Here’s what our speakers had to say about collaborating with Equal Justice Works on its Housing Justice Program:
“The Housing Justice Program Fellowship model is flexible. It’s responsive to the needs of communities and the host organizations that the Fellows serve. We feel that this has the advantage of making the project replicable in other cities and across the country.”
–Annie Greengard, Senior Program Officer at The JPB Foundation
“We’re proud to support Equal Justice Works and their innovative work bringing together Fellows and community organizations as part of the Housing Justice Program to increase access to legal services and tenant resources. It is a model that will truly make a difference.”
“It’s a comprehensive model that is bringing new partners and doing it in a place where there is an incredible need for that work. We are excited to see that model replicated in the greater Virginia area, especially Northern Virginia… and we hope is that this type of work informs a national conversation.”
–Abigail Suarez, Executive Director, Head of Neighborhood Development at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
“The wonderful thing about the Housing Justice Program is that it combines the traditional legal service model with community organizing, impact litigation and policy. Evictions aren’t an individual problem. Rather, they’re systemic. So why would we limit ourselves to individual solutions? Having that organizing component is essential to help build those connections and help connect tenants to legal aid attorneys.”
“It’s a model that puts communities first and allows attorneys to support the needs of those tenants, rather than attorneys acting as gatekeepers to this very complex legal system.”
–Laura Dobbs, Staff Attorney at Virginia Poverty Law Center, and 2019 Equal Justice Works Fellow
Visit here to learn more about the Housing Justice Program.