Making the Case for Housing as a Right


Chancellor Day Hall Stephen Scott Seminar Room (OCDH 16), 3644 rue Peel, Montreal, QC, H3A 1W9, CA

The Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism welcomes Fulbright Fellow Leah Goodridge, Supervising Attorney of the Housing Project at Mobilization for Justice, New York, NY.


The ability to have a home impacts almost all other areas in a person’s life. Studies have shown a link between the lack of adequate housing and diminished employment prospects, education and health. Despite the importance of housing, many cities across the globe envision housing as a commodity rather than a right. Thus, income inequality and discrimination drive displacement, homelessness and racial segregation. This lecture will discuss the conceptual framework of housing as a right. The lecturer will discuss the legal history of rights versus privileges, and what housing as a right means for tenants (including access to homeless shelter, greater tenant protections and universal access to free counsel for low-income tenants).

About the speaker

Leah Goodridge is the Supervising Attorney of the Housing Project at Mobilization for Justice (formerly known as MFY Legal Services). Leah represents tenants in New York City Housing Court, New York State Supreme Court, the Appellate Division of New York State, the New York State Court of Appeals and federal courts. In 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Leah to serve on the New York City Rent Guidelines Board to advocate for rent stabilized tenants across the city. Leah’s scholarship on tenants’ rights has been published in the Duke Forum for Law and Social Change journal.

Prior to practicing housing law, Leah launched the Community Economic Development Project at Medgar Evers College (City University of New York) and started a mentoring initiative for young women in the Dominican Republic, where she lived for over a year. Her honors and accolades include the 2018 New York Nonprofit Media 40 under 40 Rising Star award, the 2015 Fulbright Specialist award and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Earl Warren Scholarship. She received her J.D. from University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law and her B.A. from Vassar College.