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Project attorney for statewide eviction prevention initiative

Come on board! Kentucky Equal Justice Center seeks an attorney with experience in housing law and policy as our new Housing Justice Attorney. KEJC is a mid-sized poverty law advocacy nonprofit with a staff of twenty-two and a budget of $2.6 million. We believe every Kentuckian has the right to health care, housing, fair

pay, food, education, and safety. KEJC’s staff works in Kentucky’s capital and in courtrooms and communities across Kentucky. Our program at Maxwell Street Legal Clinic in Lexington provides immigration law services.

Working at KEJC is challenging and exciting because there is always a lot to do and many ways we could help directly impacted Kentuckians, engage with coalition partners, and work towards a Kentucky in which everyone has enough. KEJC works internally and externally in teams and coalitions and therefore seeks a Housing Justice Attorney who will help establish and maintain a healthy culture of collaboration. We are searching for an energetic attorney who is passionate about social justice. We are willing to consider applicants from anywhere in Kentucky to help support the work of all four legal aid programs from Pikeville to Paducah.

About the Position

The Housing Justice Attorney will be responsible for leading KEJC’s response to the current eviction crisis and working across organizations, coalitions, and geographies to ensure that all Kentuckians facing eviction have access to rental assistance, legal assistance, and justice. The attorney will work closely with tenants’ unions currently active in Kentucky: Louisville Tenants’ Union, Kentucky Tenants (Fayette & Rowan), Madison County Tenants’ Union, and the People’s Union in Ashland.

The Housing Justice Attorney will join a multi-function advocacy team that includes our Outreach Coordinator, four Housing Justice Organizers doing outreach, the Eviction Prevention Coalition Lead, Eviction Prevention Attorneys in Fayette County, Senior Counsel, Communications Coordinator, Resource Organizer, and Director to build a housing justice program. The attorney will supervise the housing outreach work at KEJC and will work with KEJC’s communications, development, and legal staff.

The immediate goal: deliver rental assistance and housing security to all Kentuckians. The long-term goal: every Kentuckian experiences housing as a human right.

Duties and Responsibilities

The primary work of the Housing Justice Attorney will be to:

  • Deliver direct services to Kentuckians facing eviction but who are not eligible for direct representation by Legal Aid, either due to immigration or conflict status

  • Support attorneys, legal aid organizations, and other community service providers who are also delivering those services

  • Build systems internal to KEJC and with our organizational partners to allow Kentuckians to access legal assistance and rental assistance more easily and reliably

To achieve these goals, the Housing Justice Attorney will:

  • Develop detailed knowledge of policy options and best practices for preventing evictions and delivering rental assistance to Kentuckians

  • Monitor proposed changes in local, state, and federal law, regulations, and practices related to eviction and rental assistance programs

  • Develop state, regional, and national peer and expert networks for advice, counsel, and development and evaluation of proposals and initiatives

  • Prepare a variety of written materials including briefing papers on promising options, best practices, and current issues; and compelling public-facing communications on housing, evictions, and rental assistance

  • Participate in meetings, conferences calls, and activities of local, state, and national public interest partners, including Kentucky Housing Corporation, National Low Income Housing Coalition, ThriveKY, and coalitions of organizers and directly impacted Kentuckians

  • Help plan and conduct meetings of the statewide legal services Consumer and Housing Task Force

  • Help develop and implement a communications plan designed to provide useful and timely information through multiple media to support delivery of rental assistance

  • Assist Kentuckians in applying for rental assistance

  • Identify and pursue impact litigation opportunities on key issues and manage a small caseload of individual matters

  • Work with KEJC staff to identify additional funding opportunities to ensure the sustainability of KEJC’s housing justice work

Qualifications

The successful candidate will demonstrate:

  • Active membership in the Kentucky bar

  • A minimum of two years’ experience as an attorney with preference for candidates with 5+ years of experience including housing litigation and experience working across organizations to deliver housing stability services to Kentuckians

  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal, including demonstrated public policy communications

  • Comfort speaking in front of groups

  • Excellent interpersonal skills

  • Comfort working in a multicultural setting, with sensitivity to language and cultural issues

  • Excellent organizational and problem-solving skills

  • Facility with social media and web-based communications tools

  • Ability to be a self-starter in developing and carrying out activities, to take initiative and work independently, as well as in a team

  • Knowledge of low-income issues

  • Commitment to racial justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion

Proficiency in a second language, especially Spanish, is a plus. Location in Louisville is a preference but we will consider applicants from anywhere in the Commonwealth.

Location

KEJC has offices in Lexington and Louisville, but we seek to hire the most outstanding candidate for this position. We consider geographic diversity within Kentucky both a strength and a challenge. We will explore it with candidates invited to interview for the positions.

Salary and Benefits

Salaries for attorneys or paralegals are based on experience and our salary scale. Examples: $51,816 at 3 years and $63,180 at ten years. Generous fringe benefits include health and retirement, dental, life, and disability coverage. KEJC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, but we provide health and retirement benefits through participation in state and county employee plans.

Grant Funded Position with Potential Renewal

This position is funded by a grant from Kentucky Housing Corporation until June 30, 2024, but new funding sources are being pursued by the entire development team at KEJC. Over time, sustainability will depend on locating new sources of support.

Starting Date

As soon as possible.

Application Instructions

To apply, please use our app (https://bit.ly/work-at-kejc) to upload as a single .pdf document:

  • a cover letter

  • your resume

  • three references with phone numbers and email addresses

  • 2-3 examples of recent work that you feel is relevant to this position (optional)

Recent work materials might include legal briefs, policy papers, videos or slides of presentations you are proud of, one-pagers explaining an issue to laypeople, and op-eds or blog posts. If these materials are available online, you may provide them by linking to them in the cover letter or in a separate document in the single .pdf upload.

If you need an accommodation or assistance to submit your application and materials, please email ben@kyequaljustice.org.

Only applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.

For more information

Contact Stefanie Ebbens Kingsley, Housing Justice Attorney, Kentucky Equal Justice Center, 201 West Short Street, Suite 310, Lexington, KY 40507. Email: stefanie@kyequaljustice.org.

Diversity Statement

KEJC welcomes your application. As an organization, we are committed to anti-racism and are working to build a racial justice framework into our programming and policy initiatives. We acknowledge our history as a predominately white organization and are committed to ending white supremacy. Doing so is essential to our objective of full equality for all people.

KEJC provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants without regard to race, color, religious creed, sex, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, pregnancy, childbirth (or related medical conditions, including, but not limited to lactation), physical disability, mental and/or intellectual disability, age, military status or status as a Vietnam-era or special disabled veteran, marital status, registered domestic partner or civil union status, gender (including sex stereotyping and gender identity or expression), medical condition (including, but not limited to, cancer-related or HIV/AIDS-related), genetic information, or sexual orientation in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws.

Women, people of color, transgender individuals and members of other underrepresented populations are strongly encouraged to apply. KEJC also supports and encourages people who were formerly convicted to be active in their community. Background checks results that indicate a conviction do not necessarily disqualify you from employment. KEJC reserves the right to request further information to fully assess an applicant’s candidacy in relation to the job duties associated with the position.

About Us

Kentucky Equal Justice Center was formed in 1976 to work with all of Kentucky’s civil legal services programs on statewide issues and projects. Today, we are a flexible and responsive public interest advocacy organization with a wide variety of community partners. We convene statewide legal aid task forces in multiple areas of poverty law and provide immigration law services through Maxwell Street Legal Clinic in Lexington.

Kentucky Equal Justice Center is an equal opportunity employer

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