Last Friday evening, the National Housing Law Project bestowed its 2017 Housing Justice Award on Legal Aid Supervising Attorney Beth Mellen Harrison. NHLP’s Housing Justice Award recognizes a “new and impressive talent in the field of affordable housing and low-income housing rights” and is given annually to “an energetic and unstoppable activist . . . who is fearlessly and successfully tackling the systemic and often hostile obstacles that stand in the way of safe, decent and affordable housing for low-income and marginalized people.”
The Honorable Julie Becker of the D.C. Superior Court, a former Legal Aid supervising attorney and the 2006 Housing Justice Award recipient, introduced Beth and presented her with the honor. Rasheedah Phillips, Managing Attorney of the Housing Unit at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, was Beth’s co-recipient.
Beth co-leads our Housing Law Unit as one of three supervising attorneys and also manages two of Legal Aid’s innovative court-based projects. Over the past several years in particular, Beth has emerged as a key player in designing and implementing the more recent of those two projects, the “Housing Right to Counsel Project” – a partnership between Legal Aid, Bread for the City, the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, and Legal Counsel for the Elderly which seeks to increase the number of subsidized housing tenants receiving legal representation in eviction cases.
Beth is a remarkable advocate and enjoys the much-deserved respect of her colleagues and peers here at Legal Aid and throughout the city. We could not be more proud of our colleague and friend, Beth Harrison.