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James Scott Farrin-Sponsored Civil Justice Clinic at Duke Law School Fights Homelessness in the Community

DURHAM, N.C., May 21, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ --A Durham has one of the highest eviction filing rates in the state, with staggering numbers that double the national average. The Durham Human Relations Commission calls it an "eviction crisis" that continues to trend upwards in low-income demographics as Durham becomes an increasingly gentrified community. The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin helps sponsor the Civil Justice Clinic at Duke Law School, which is staffed by Duke Law students who help combat homelessness and wrongful evictions in the community, among other things. As a result, numerous wrongful evictions have been avoided. The clinic, along with Legal Aid of North Carolina, partnered a few years ago to found the Durham Eviction Diversion Program, which provides legal assistance at no cost to those threatened with eviction. Students Meghna Batra and Jared Shadeed, through this program, recently shared a success with one of the clinic's clients. The client, who had been receiving assistance from DHA's Housing Voucher Program that helps very low-income families to pay their rent, became homeless after her landlord declined to renew her lease due to a criminal charge her minor daughter incurred earlier that year. The client attempted to avoid losing her voucher by vacating her housing early, but it didn't work. She found herself homeless and without recourse to rent a property for herself again. Batra and Shadeed, under the supervision of James Scott Farrin Lecturing Fellow and clinic Supervising Attorney Jesse McCoy, advocated for the client before a DHA hearings officer. However, the officer upheld the landlord's decision. Not giving up, the two students started post-hearing communications with the DHA's attorney after finding that there was a possibility for federal litigation in the matter. Soon afterwards, the DHA attorney informed the students that the hearings officer's decision was rescinded and their client's housing voucher would be reinstated, thereby allowing the client a chance to secure private rental housing once more."Working on this case showed me the importance of persistence in the face of injustice," said Batra. "We had heard that the system seems stacked against certain individuals, and we witnessed that firsthand here. In the face of this discouragement, though, we learned that advocating for one's client does not end with a bad verdict. As a result of our team's persistence, our client will now have access to stable housing in an otherwise tumultuous time."
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