ASHLEIGH STARNES | March 15th, 2019
On March 6th, AVLF staff members discussed tenants’ rights and Protective Order basics at an Immigrant and Housing Coalition meeting at New American Pathways.
While Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation does not generally handle immigration cases, it is not uncommon for immigrants and refugees to come through our offices seeking assistance with escaping domestic violence and securing healthy housing.
AVLF was honored by an invitation from a new Immigrant and Housing Coalition to present on tenants’ rights and resources.
If any of the Coalition’s organizations have clients who needed help with housing or domestic violence, we’re ready to defend them.
The focus of the group is to “discuss the gaps in housing accessibility when it comes to immigrant and refugee survivors and the unique challenges that they face when considering leaving a violent/potentially violent situation,” says Eileen Espinal of Tahirih Justice Center. “The ultimate goal of our coalition is to share resources, brainstorm/execute housing strategies and give each other support so that together we can help fill in the gaps that exist between an immigrant survivor fleeing a violent situation to becoming self-sufficient.”
Erica Taylor (our Saturday Lawyer Program Staff Attorney/Director) and Cynthia Padilla Pearson (the Safe and Stable Families Legal Education & Outreach Coordinator) led a conversation on helping local immigrant clients access safe and stable housing.
The presentation included information on a recent law passed (OCGA § 44-7-23) that allows survivors of domestic violence to break their lease without penalty. Cynthia and Erica went over basic tenants’ rights information, how to read a lease agreement, and general practices for filing Temporary Protective Orders.
“The big thing that people kept laughing about was that every time [a new question came up], we’d say, “That’s when you call AVLF!”
A major takeaway from the presentation was that if any of the Coalition’s organizations have clients who needed help with housing or domestic violence, we’re ready to defend them.
“The big thing that people kept laughing about was that every time [a new question came up], we’d say, ‘That’s when you call AVLF!” said Cynthia.
“Thank you for inviting us, being engaged, having wonderful questions and comments and even asking about how to support our programs and volunteer,” said Erica.
Many of AVLF’s key partner organizations and friends are part of the coalition, such as GAIN, Raksha, Tahirih Justice Center, and others. We are more than happy to share our resources with the Coalition, and continue to fight for safe, stable, and healthy homes for all Atlantans.
Read more about Cynthia Padilla Pearson, our new Legal Education & Outreach Coordinator.
Communications Manager (Interim)
As AVLF’s Interim Communications Manager, Ashleigh works in website content development, social media outreach, and various other forms of communication with our clients, volunteers, and supporters.
Ashleigh is ever-eager to share the remarkable stories of our work, and the impact of AVLF’s staff and volunteers on our community.
Before joining AVLF, Ashleigh was a Fulbright Scholar in Turkey. She holds a BA in English and Linguistics from the University of Georgia. She is also a performance artist, and can occasionally be seen performing movement pieces, poetry, and combinations of the two around Atlanta and beyond.