If we pair our good intentions with deep understanding, then there is no limit to the ways that we can improve our clients’ lives and our community as a whole.
COLE THALER | August 28, 2018 The word “race” does not appear in AVLF’s mission statement or vision statement, but there’s no question that the work we do on behalf of low-income tenants is racial justice work. Here’s why. 1. Housing inequality in Atlanta is not race-neutral. In a 2016 paper, the Federal Reserve Bank […]
Every day in Atlanta, landlords carry out illegal evictions. They toss their tenants out without the benefit of court filings or a hearing, often because rent is a few days late. Most of the tenants who call AVLF have no prior warning of these “self-help” evictions. They simply return home to find that their key no longer fits in the lock, and peer through their own windows to see that all of their belongings have been removed or ransacked.
AVLF distributes children’s books during every Saturday Lawyer Clinic, where volunteer attorneys meet with clients about housing and employment issues. The reason why might surprise you.
It never even occurred to me that My Atlanta wasn’t the Atlanta: that my perception was limited by my footprints, which were guided by my privilege.
Today, as an attorney working on behalf of low-income clients facing housing instability, there is something sanitized about my profession and my persona. When I meet with clients, I presume that I can access all kinds of personal information about them – but that they will not learn anything about me. I am neutral, unmarked, The Professional – not a human being with personality quirks, and certainly not a human being with a first-hand experience of poverty. Perhaps attorneys have more in common with our clients than we are used to looking for. And perhaps sharing those stories, forging those connections, is worth the risk of letting our professional masks drop.
On October 20, AVLF honored the following award winners at the Atlanta Bar Association’s Celebrating Service Luncheon:
Safe Families Office Firm of the Year: Jones Day; Safe Families Office Volunteer of the Year: Richard G. Farnsworth, Farnsworth Law, LLC; Guardian ad Litem of the Year: Brandy Alexander, The Alexander Firm, LLC; Safe and Stable Homes Firm of the Year: PwC; Safe and Stable Homes Volunteer of the Year: John H. Rains IV of Bondurant, Mixson and Elmore
Imagine this: You’ve reached the end of your work day and you’re heading home. You shut down your computer, grab your briefcase and umbrella, and head to your car. As you ease out of the parking garage and into Atlanta rush hour traffic, you start thinking about what’s waiting for you at home. What do you have in the fridge for dinner? What veggies did you pick up at the grocery store last weekend? Should you splurge and order delivery? Or if your other half beat you home, maybe dinner will be coming together already, something simmering on the stove, delicious smells radiating from the hot oven. You make a mental note to throw a load of laundry into the washing machine before sitting down to eat.
In 2013, Susan and her boyfriend, Juan, rented a home in South Fulton. A few months later, Susan was hospitalized, and Juan stayed with friends nearby so he could visit her frequently. When Susan was released, she and Juan returned to the home, only to discover that their landlord had turned off the water, changed the locks, and pawed through their belongings.