Across the United States, evictions are on the rise and families are losing their homes. Among larger cities, Richmond has the second highest eviction rate in the country at 11%—that’s three to four times the national average, according to an analysis of millions of eviction case court records by Princeton University’s Eviction Lab.
We recently launched our Housing Justice Program, a two-year Fellowship program aimed at helping individuals and families in the Greater Richmond Region of Virginia who are currently, or are at risk of, experiencing housing instability.
Hosted at Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, Legal Aid Justice Center, and Virginia Poverty Law Center, Equal Justice Works Fellows and Housing Organizers are working as a unified front to ensure greater access to legal services for residents facing the possibility of eviction. Together, Fellows and Organizers are building collaborative partnerships among tenant groups and community members, and engaging in activities to effect systemic change.
Here’s a sample of what our Fellows in the Housing Justice Program are working on:
Justin Geyer is hosted by the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society where he provides direct representation to low-income tenants facing eviction or other adverse housing actions.
Daryl F. Hayott, Esq. represents residents in housing matters and leads a wide range of outreach and education activities, including engaging residents in Tenant Town Halls, conducting Tenant’s Assertion seminars, and door knocking in high-eviction communities to gauge community concerns. Daryl is hosted by the Virginia Poverty Law Center.
Palmer Heenan provides direct legal aid, outreach, and advocacy to low-income tenants facing eviction. Palmer is hosted by the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society.
Louisa Rich is hosted by the Legal Aid Justice Center and represents tenants in court with an eye toward impact solutions. Through public comment, legislative work groups, and community collaboration, Louisa also advocates for local policy change and enables low-income tenants to self-advocate.
Kateland Alan Woodcock is taking a multifaceted approach to her Fellowship, performing direct representation in addition to working with community organizers to help educate the public on their rights. Kateland is hosted by the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society.
Laura Wright is using a community lawyering model to work with other Fellows and Community Organizers to build networks within high eviction neighborhoods to assess the greatest housing needs, provide know your rights trainings, and refer clients to partner organizations for emergency legal assistance. Laura is hosted by the Virginia Poverty Law Center.
The Housing Justice Program is made possible by the generous support of The JPB Foundation. Learn more about the program here.