LSC Housing Attorney Julia Devanthéry was recently interviewed by Mother Jones about the COVID eviction crisis and how it is affecting individuals and families across the country–especially those who face domestic violence.
In 2013, Julia Devanthéry joined Harvard Law School’s Legal Services Center and specialized in teaching students how to represent tenants in housing disputes. In 2017, after witnessing how many clients were facing housing instability due to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, she realized that students needed a more focused approach to representing them. So, she founded the Housing Justice for Survivors Project within the Center in order to train law students in what is known as a trauma-informed practice, one that focuses on domestic violence-oriented defense strategies against eviction, while also helping clients break leases without financial repercussions and find transitional housing.
In 2019, Devanthéry and her students won an important case in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court after appealing an eviction order on behalf of a client who had fallen behind on payment of rent because her abusive partner was stealing her income. The court’s ruling in Boston Housing Authority v. Y.A. affirmed the right of domestic violence survivors in public housing to raise the Violence Against Women Act as a defense against an eviction procedure.