Housing Justice Project

 
 
 
 

Center for Social Justice

The Housing Justice Project is an initiative established in the 2021-22 academic year with funding from the State of New Jersey that seeks to provide representation and support to tenants in landlord-tenant disputes and with other housing needs. The Project is a collaboration between Seton Hall Law School’s Center for Social Justice (CSJ) and Rutgers Law School. At Seton Hall Law School, the project is led by a team of experienced faculty and staff, including Professors Kevin B. Kelly and Andrew Darcy in the Civil Litigation Clinic, Professor Adelina Herrarte in the Health Justice Clinic, and Professor Abdul Rehman Khan in the Housing Justice and Legal Design Clinic. Also on the project are Diane K. Smith, Managing Attorney; Anne Kassalow, Pro Bono and Community Outreach Coordinator; and Professor Lori Outzs Borgen, CSJ Director.  The Project is supported by Melinda Lampley-Merritt, Paralegal; Kayla Strube, Housing Justice Project Coordinator; and Valeria Barcia, Intake Specialist.  The Project includes more than 50 clinic students and volunteers each year who are actively working to provide representation and support to tenants.

In the spring of 2023, the Housing Justice Project launched the New Jersey Legal Design Lab as, a social change laboratory that combines law and design to channel power into local movements. Under the leadership of Hallie Jay Pope, Director, the Lab’s first mandate is to support local movements community-led struggles for housing justice. The Housing Justice Project advocates for broader social change in the field of landlord-tenant law, and specifically focuses on the implementation and enforcement of landlord-tenant reform measures. While the State of New Jersey has implemented comprehensive reform and taken decisive action to address the worsening eviction crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, low-income tenants continue to face a significant risk of eviction.

The Housing Justice Project seeks to ensure that the landlord-tenant reforms implemented by the state are applied in a consistent and fair manner, with the goal of preventing unjust eviction and resulting homelessness among vulnerable populations. The Housing Justice Project is focused on providing legal representation and support to tenants in need and working to raise awareness and advocate for further reform to protect tenant rights.

The New Jersey Housing Justice Corps

To enhance and expand the availability of legal services to tenants with low and moderate incomes, the law schools developed the New Jersey Housing Justice Corps (NJ HJC) for law graduates, newer attorneys (less than 5 years of practice), and attorneys seeking to transition practice areas to serve as fellows with the law schools and/or with legal services organizations in New Jersey.   The New Jersey Housing Justice Corps is a community of advocates committed to eradicating housing instability and addressing inequities in housing availability and quality.

Pro Bono Work

The Housing Justice Pro Bono Project at Seton Hall Law engages students in housing justice work throughout their time in law school, beginning in the first year. Students participate in pro bono projects such as a court observation project, know your rights presentations, and community outreach through canvassing in partnership with community-based organizations.

Getting Legal Help

If you are a tenant or member of a tenant organization seeking legal assistance on a housing matter, or if you or your organization are interested in community education on housing topics, please contact the Center for Social Justice at 973-642-8700 or [email protected].

Reports Issued by the Housing Justice Project

Report of Observations on Implementation of Landlord-Tenant Reform in New Jersey (February 7, 2022).

Housing Justice Project in the News

Open Thank You Letter to the State Legislature from New Jersey Law Schools
Read Here

Speaker Craig J. Coughlin visits Seton Hall Law to discuss the Housing Justice Project
Watch Here

Seton Hall Law Managing Attorney Diane Smith on New Jersey Courts' Struggle to Fairly Apply Eviction Law
Watch Here

Publications by Housing Justice Project Members

Using State Law to Enforce "Affirmatively Further" Fair Housing Obligations: No Longer Fitting a Square Peg in a Round Hole

Meet the Housing Justice Project Team

  • Professor Lori Outzs Borgen

    Lori Outzs Borgen

    Associate Clinical Professor and Director, Center for Social Justice, Director of Externships and Pro Bono Service Program
    J.D., Columbia Law School
    B.A., Harvard University
    | 973-642-8700/8480 | Rm 120 | VIEW PROFILE


  • Image of Prof. Adelina Herrarte, J.D.

    Adelina Herrarte

    Assistant Clinical Professor
    J.D., The City University of New York School of Law | B.A., New York University
    | (973) 642-8231 | VIEW PROFILE



  • Image of Anne Kassalow

    Anne McLane Kassalow

    Pro Bono and Outreach Coordinator, Housing Justice Project
    J.D., Seton Hall Law School | B.A., University of Maryland
    | 973-642-8700


  • Professor Kevin Kelly

    Kevin B. Kelly

    Associate Clinical Professor of Law
    J.D., Temple University School of Law | B.S., St. Joseph's University
    | 973-642-8700 | Rm 123 | VIEW PROFILE


  • Abdul Rehman Khan, Adjunct Professor of Legal Practice

    Abdul Rehman Khan

    Assistant Clinical Professor
    J.D., Rutgers University | B.A., Rutgers University
    | 973-642-8700 | Rm 206 | VIEW PROFILE


  • Melinda Lampley

    Melinda Lampley-Merritt

    Paralegal
    B.A., Seton Hall University
    | 973-642-8700


  • Image of Hallie Jay Pope.

    Hallie Jay Pope

    Director, NJ Legal Design Lab
    J.D., Harvard Law School | A.B., Brown University


  • Diane K. Smith (130x81)

    Diane K. Smith

    Managing Attorney
    J.D., Rutgers University School of Law | B.A., Catholic University of America
    | 973-642-8700


  • Image of Kayla Strube

    Kayla Strube

    Housing Justice Project Coordinator
    B.A., Seton Hall University