Celebrating those who support our clients.
O’Shauna M. Hunter is a supervising attorney and the Charlotte Housing Project Director for Legal Aid of North Carolina. Her team represents people who are facing eviction, have repair concerns, or have issues with their subsidies.
In honor of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s 20th anniversary, we interviewed our hardworking staff to learn what drives their passion for our clients.
What made you want to be a lawyer?
I wanted to give back to the community, because I grew up eligible for these services. My family depended on food stamps and Medicaid. I had no knowledge of Legal Aid when I was growing up in North Carolina, and I know the people in my community didn’t either.
Why did you start working at Legal Aid NC?
In my second year of law school, my classmates and I worked at the self-serve center in the courthouse, a resource for people going through legal issues like custody and divorce court. Though people can file their own paperwork for a fee that can be waived if they qualify, I saw attorneys charging their clients for the same filing that person could do for free. That got me interested in nonprofit work. After law school, I got a Fellowship to work in the Concord office of Legal Aid of North Carolina, then I moved into the Charlotte office. Now I specialize in housing.
What do you love about working at Legal Aid NC?
Charlotte is going through an affordable housing crisis. In eviction cases, most landlords are represented by an attorney, but the majority of tenants are not. Most of the time tenants just want more time, or to know more about the process and their rights. They typically are not aware they have defenses. In most cases, we’ve been able to save someone from eviction who was already packing to leave their home. It’s impactful, and we are really making a difference in people’s lives.
What frustrates you?
We can help the people who qualify for housing help today, but we’re not going to find a solution for their overall problem. They cannot afford a place to live because they have low paying jobs. They can’t get better jobs because they are in crisis. We see repeat clients, which is sad.
Tell me about a special client you helped.
I had a client who came to Legal Aid of North Carolina after she had already been evicted, because she was at risk of losing her subsidy. For someone who has a subsidy, a portion of their rent is paid by the federal government. Because there is an affordable housing crisis, subsidies are like a golden ticket. We were able to overturn the eviction even though her appeal deadline had passed and we were able to preserve her subsidy.
What we do is important. We give our clients hope when all seems hopeless.
Support O’Shauna and the Legal Aid of North Carolina team!
Though our organization’s impact is great, the demand for our services surpasses its capacity to help. In honor of the organization’s two decades of service, consider donating, volunteering or getting involved with Legal Aid of North Carolina.