NHLP Seeks Eviction Initiative Project Director
NHLP is launching a project on eviction prevention and tenants’ rights that will bring together lawyers, researchers and organizers, court staff and housing providers to increase public understanding of the social and health impacts of evictions and to support emerging policy and program innovations. We are seeking someone to direct the project.
Eviction and the cascade of negative outcomes that follow have a major and lasting impact on the health and well-being of children and adults. Eviction is associated with coronary heart disease, mental health conditions, higher death rates, and pre-term childbirths. For children, it is particularly devastating. Eviction takes years off children’s lives, sets them back academically, and results in emotional trauma, higher exposure to lead poisoning, and food insecurity. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the necessity of housing to health, not only for the households at risk of eviction, but for public health as a whole. Yet, due to a lack of legal protections and financial supports, the pandemic has accelerated and magnified that already ongoing crisis and exacerbated health inequity along racial lines.
Due to a long history of structural racism and ongoing discrimination, Black, Native American, and Latino households in the United States experience higher rates of poverty and housing insecurity than white households. They are also more likely to rent, due to discriminatory policies mainly targeting white households for homeownership. Evictions in turn are tinged with racial bias, and disproportionately affect Black and Latino renters in particular. Research indicates that nonwhite renters face higher eviction rates, and in some cases, are more than twice as likely to be evicted than white renters. Evictions also fall particularly hard on Black women. Across their lifetime, 1 in 5 Black women are evicted, compared with 1 in 15 white women.
In response to the pandemic, the federal government and state and local governments have put forward innovative and novel policy approaches to address the nation’s eviction crisis. In recognition of the role of housing in health, policymakers have temporarily reformed the system and provided unprecedented levels of financial assistance to help stop and prevent evictions. While these policies are temporary, they indicate a rare policy window to address the COVID-19 eviction crisis, the underlying affordable housing crisis, and the role of landlord tenant law in perpetuating harm among low-income and historically marginalized communities.
ABOUT THE PROJECT AND THE POSITION
NHLP is starting a new initiative focused on preventing evictions and reforming landlord tenant laws across the United States. The initiative will bring together a network of organizations, researchers and advocates that work on eviction related issues to share ideas, collaborate and to align their work. The Director will also harness the network to support state level efforts to improve landlord tenant law and eviction prevention programs. There is increasing academic, political and advocacy focus on the issue of evictions and tenants’ rights in general. However, there is little coordination around the research, data gathering and advocacy in this area. The Project Director will work with NHLP staff and other organizations to start the network, staff it and grow its effectiveness and influence. The position comes with significant authority to shape the work and the initiative depending on the partners and emerging opportunities.
NHLP has strong subject-matter expertise around landlord-tenant law, tenant screening, due process and other issues related to the legal side of preventing evictions. Several NHLP staff members will provide relevant expertise to the project. The Project Director will plan meetings and gatherings, conduct outreach to potential partners, develop a steering committee and create governance and functional model for the network. The Director will also support the work of local advocates as they push for reform around landlord tenant law and anti-eviction program design. The Director will actively work with local and state advocates to advance eviction court reform that investigates and addresses the structural racism and racial inequities of the eviction court system. The position will involve coalition building, advocacy, media work and publication development.
The project has funding to hire a staff member supervised by the Project Director. The Project Director will develop the scope for that position.
The National Housing Law Project’s mission is to advance housing justice for poor people and communities. We achieve this by strengthening and enforcing the rights of tenants, increasing housing opportunities for underserved communities, and preserving and expanding the nation’s supply of safe and affordable homes. NHLP works at the crossroads of housing and community development advocacy, legal services for the poor, and civil rights. We believe that access to safe, decent, and affordable housing is a fundamental human right that should be enjoyed by everyone. Our work is grounded in the realities that shape poor people’s housing choices. Housing security is an essential component of racial and civil equality and a critical foundation for education, health, employment, social engagement, and opportunity. We provide communities and their advocates with the tools they need to advance those rights. NHLP has offices in San Francisco and Washington DC.
The National Housing Law Project is committed to an environment of inclusion and equitable opportunity for members of the Housing Justice Network, our partner organizations, clients, staff, and board. We seek to hire individuals from diverse backgrounds, especially people with lived experiences impacted by housing insecurity and discrimination, or who have experienced the intersection of multiple systems of discrimination. We actively promote mutual respect, acceptance, appreciation and teamwork across all lines of difference.
This initiative is in its infancy and has the challenges and benefits of a new endeavor. Relationship development and project coordination are crucial skills for the position. Enthusiasm for the goals of the project is also required. NHLP is a legal organization but the Project Director does not need to be an attorney. A background in advocacy, research, public policy or organizing would lend itself to the position. An understanding of the legal and programmatic issues around eviction is preferred.
SALARY AND BENEFITS
Salary will depend on the qualifications of the applicant but will be roughly tied to NHLP’s attorney salary scale. The salary scale is dependent on years of service. First year attorneys start at $62,000, while attorneys at year 10 make $100,000. For attorneys or other advocates with more than 10 years of experience the salary will be negotiated. NHLP provides fully paid health, dental, vision and other insurance for its employees.
Applications should include the name of the position in the subject line. Please email the following to firstname.lastname@example.org :
- Cover letter that details your interest in the position and how your skills relate to the job description
- Three references
The position was posted on September 20, 2021. This position will remain open until filled but an initial review of applications will occur starting on Monday, October 11.
REPORTS TO: Executive Director
LOCATION: Anywhere in the United States