ATLANTA—The Georgia State University Law Center for Access to Justice is hosting its third annual State of the South conference, Feb. 20-21, focusing on housing justice.
Sessions will cover barriers to equitable housing, eviction rates and the impact of housing conditions on health and wellness. Registration is open.
“Eviction and affordable housing are topics that in recent years have gained increased attention both nationally and in Georgia,” said Lauren Sudeall, the center’s faculty director. “We thought it was important to create a space where those engaged with both issues could talk about how they are manifesting in this region.”
Lavar Edmonds from the Princeton University Eviction Lab will lead a lunchtime discussion about the lab’s work and how it bears on evictions in the South. Legal researchers and housing experts will be panelists throughout the conference.
“By including many states and perspectives—both academic and practice-focused—the conference will explore the structural and legal obstacles to housing justice and the unique challenges and innovative potential solutions in the region,” said Darcy Meals, the center’s assistant director.
Fair and equitable housing options are a significant area of interest for the Center for Access to Justice. Renters in Georgia are twice as likely to be evicted as renters in other parts of the country, according to research conducted by the Eviction Lab. To help address this issue, the center collaborates with Lawyers for Equal Justice and the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation to provide limited legal advice through the Housing Court Assistance Center. Lawyers and Georgia State Law students volunteer six hours a week at the Fulton County Courthouse, offering legal advice to individuals facing eviction.
The center also hosts an Alternative Spring Break trip to teach law students about the effects of housing instability and poor housing conditions on elementary-aged children. Center faculty are engaged in research on how eviction court operates in suburban and rural parts of Georgia.
By hosting the State of the South Conference, Sudeall and Meals hope to bring together attorneys, academics, developers, advocates, zoning officials and community members to brainstorm how to increase access to safe and affordable housing.
Visit the website for more information and to register for the conference.