Paralegal’s Leni Tupper co-authors national article on eviction expungements
Leni Tupper, co-chair of the Paralegal Program and co-founder of PCC’s CLEAR Clinic, recently co-authored an article on the importance of eviction expungements. Tupper is a pro bono immigration attorney and a legal system volunteer as well.
Tupper’s article discusses evictions with a national focus, but centers on Oregon, featuring a story from a CLEAR Clinic participant, as well as her work. She has seen firsthand how crucial eviction expungements are for people’s success, safety and well-being. She said the inequities in housing are due in part to a history of systemic racism.
The article centers on how eviction records keep individuals and families locked in a cycle of poverty. The authors argue that eviction record sealing, in combination with additional tenant protections and reforms, would greatly improve access to affordable housing.
“Housing justice, or the right to stable, high-quality, safe and affordable housing for people of all income levels is a critical legal and social justice issue, especially right now, during a global pandemic,” Tupper said. “To achieve a healthy, thriving community, we need to value all of our residents and allow each person to shine their brightest without being held back by legal issues. Expungements clear the path forward for people and help reduce barriers to success. Everyone in the community benefits from this.”
As director of PCC’s CLEAR Clinic, Tupper and staff help people at the college and community. They partner with various PCC programs and departments, as well as community-based organizations to help get the word out and holistically support clinic participants. Partners include the North by Northeast Community Health Center (the only medical clinic in Oregon devoted to Black health), the PCC DREAMers Resource Center and Innovation Law Lab/Equity Corps of Oregon.
The clinic’s services are free and open to all PCC students and members of the public.
At PCC, Tupper teaches a variety of paralegal courses, including “Survey of Substantive Law,” and “Immigration Law,” and she developed the clinical course “Paralegal Community Law Clinic.” This is in addition to teaching courses on such topics as ethics, the US Legal System and professions within law.
“She is committed to teaching the practical skills needed to succeed in the legal field, while working toward increasing access to justice for our communities,” said Beth Molenkamp, program dean of Education & Human Services Programs. “And Leni tries to use her privilege to walk with community members in the struggle toward justice.”