September 8, 2023
Alaina Thomas, RU Law Housing Clinic with tenants association
Rutgers Law Housing Justice & Tenant Solidarity Clinic Attorney Alaina Thomas addresses the media during press conference announcing lawsuit from East Orange tenants against landlord and building owners in August 2023.

In 2020, the Legislature passed NJSA 22A:2-51a, funding law school programs to prepare more law students to help with the housing crisis. The legislation acknowledged that the lack of affordable housing, long an issue in New Jersey, was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and disproportionately impacts Black and Latinx residents of New Jersey. The Legislature renewed these critical appropriations in 2022 and 2023. Thanks to ongoing support from the Legislature, the New Jersey Housing Justice Project continues helping improve conditions for low- and middle-income tenants, promote housing stability in the state, and build a new generation of advocates.

In the last academic year, 84 students participated in the law schools' housing justice clinics.  Seventeen of those students were able to return for a second semester as advanced students.  The clinic students provided more than 25,000 hours of clinic service.

As part of the project, law students and recent graduates have:

  • defended parents in eviction cases and helped them obtain repairs to make their homes safer for their children.
  • assisted tenant organizations and challenged illegal rent hikes. 
  • helped seniors find new apartments with the supportive services they need to continue to call New Jersey home.
Housing Justice Event with Speaker Craig Coughlin
New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (center) discuss the Housing Justice Project with law students from Rutgers Law and Seton Hall Law schools in April 2023.

The work continues. The state’s investment in the New Jersey Housing Justice Project is an effective use of resources.  Housing instability tears communities apart, and lawyers make a difference. Every dollar invested in legal services for tenants saves approximately $12 in social, educational, health, carceral and other costs. New Jersey is taking steps to save taxpayer dollars while supporting individuals who need help.

In partnership with Seton Hall Law School, Rutgers has established many programs to increase housing stability:

  • Housing Justice Corps 
  • Increased enrollment in housing clinics
  • Increased pro bono work
  • Policy work

For legal help or advice with a landlord tenant issue in Camden:
Phone: (856) 225-2319

Rutgers Law Media Contact:
Shanida Carter

Subscribe to our RSS feed.