The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless (the “Legal Clinic”) seeks to hire an attorney to serve as project manager for a new, multi-organization, DC Human Right to Housing Initiative. This Initiative emerged from collaboration among the DC Access to Justice Commission, the DC Bar Pro Bono Program and a number of local legal services providers who recognized that securing safe, affordable and accessible housing for all DC residents requires a multi-faceted and coordinated advocacy campaign with a diverse group of stakeholders. The Initiative will use the framework of the human right to housing (i.e. legal security of tenure, affordability, habitability, accessibility) to develop and implement strategic priorities for legal advocacy.
The Project Manager’s primary responsibility will be to assemble and coordinate resources from the legal services community, housing policy advocates and private pro bono law firms to pursue a set of strategic advocacy goals that build toward a community where all DC residents can enjoy safe, affordable and accessible housing and, ultimately, are protected by the District of Columbia’s adoption of the internationally-recognized human right to housing.
Specific priority tasks include:
Initial Planning and Information Gathering
- Ensure that significant major stakeholders have been identified and given the opportunity to provide input into the Initiative’s priorities and strategies
- Engage with right to housing initiatives in other jurisdictions for lessons learned and strategic guidance
- Incorporate input from community members gathered through the Consortium of Legal Services Providers’ Community Needs Assessment to inform the selection of priorities
- Develop a process to ensure that the Initiative is guided by community input in an ongoing way
Selection of Projects
- Identify gaps on the DC housing advocacy landscape that might be filled by the legal community
- Complete the process of identifying and prioritizing strategies and the persons/institutions responsible for their implementation, ultimately building the foundation for the establishment of an enforceable right to housing in DC
Launch and Oversight of Substantive Projects
- Coordinate work being undertaken by multiple legal services providers on similar issues
- Work with the Initiative steering committee to engage the private Bar in each strategic endeavor
- Ensure that communications and strategies are grounded in the right to housing framework
Building a Lasting, Coordinated and Inclusive Right to Housing Advocacy Community
- Regularly convene a forum where stakeholders identify opportunities to further the cause of affordable housing
- Bring low-income community member interests and voices into conversations with public officials, developers and other stakeholders committed to alleviating DC’s affordable housing crisis
- Help stakeholders secure the legal resources they need to be actively engaged with elected and appointed officials (e.g. drafting legislation or regulations; research of best practices; analysis of proposed policy initiatives, etc.)
- Develop qualitative and quantitative data gathering and evaluation plan for measuring the impact of the Initiative
- Manage logistical elements of the Initiative, including coordinating the steering committee and supporting the work groups
- As all Legal Clinic attorneys undertake a combination of direct representation and systemic advocacy, the Right to Housing attorney will be involved with a small number of representative cases in the Initiative’s priority areas, for example shelter access appeals or TOPA (Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act) cases, in addition to her or his project management responsibilities.
Ideal Candidates will have the following qualifications:
- Demonstrated commitment to social justice and housing as a human right
- Five or more years’ experience with housing and/or human rights advocacy and representation
- Experience working with low- and no-income community members or organizations serving those community members
- Track record of collaborative work across diverse organizations and coalitions
- Skilled at building alliances to achieve goals
- Familiarity with DC housing law and the local affordable housing community
- Familiarity with the DC pro bono community
- Demonstrated understanding of human rights frameworks
- Experience with project management
- Membership in, or eligibility to waive into, the DC Bar
In addition, the Project Manager must be a strategic thinker and team player, and she or he must embrace the value of community engagement and client input.
This is a full-time position. Salary depends on experience, with excellent benefits including 100% employer-paid health insurance. This position presently is funded for 12 – 18 months, although funding will be sought to continue the Initiative beyond this start-up period.
Please email a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and three references. We are looking for thoughtful, personalized cover letters that demonstrate qualifications for this position and interest in working to ensure a just and inclusive community where housing is a human right. Email materials to this address and note “Right to Housing Attorney” in the subject line.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled; applicants are encouraged to apply ASAP.