1 January 2021 | People’s ability to afford housing has suffered significantly due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Southern Adventist University’s School Of Social Work (SOSW) is stepping up to help provide solutions.

The Collegedale, Tennessee-based school has partnered with the Chattanooga Eviction Prevention Program to provide free legal assistance to those in the local community who are facing eviction.

The program works with tenants to find resources to stay in their residence or to find new ones if they have been evicted.

According to a Southern Facebook post, the Chattanooga-based program reached out to the SOSW for help with social services and case management.

Southern Graduate students Elizabeth Riley, ’20, and Susan Yates, ’20, worked as case manager interns for the project and Professor Kristie (Young) Wilder, ’03, is working with Riley to conduct and analyze interviews with tenants, landlords, and court watchers who take notes during the cases. The idea is to learn more about what prevents housing security and to find out what kind of help an attorney and social worker can provide in housing cases. Wilder will eventually make policy recommendations as a result of the research.

“The program is a tangible way for Southern to spread the gospel in the community and live out our values,” Wilder said. “This is changing the court experience for people and allowing their voices to be heard. It is important for our university to continue building these positive relationships with the greater Chattanooga community so that we can demonstrate how a faith-based institution cares deeply about the lives of others.”

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