Legal Advocacy Project
ACT’s strategy is to partner with neighbors whose lives and properties are adversely impacted by crime-ridden and blighted properties in their community.
ACT provides legal support to assist neighbors in obtaining access to the legal remedies that are available to address the causes underlying these conditions. After an offending property is identified in the neighborhoods in which we serve, ACT assists in the documentation of evidence and facilitates the involvement of volunteer legal counsel. The legal team provides advice as to the most strategic method with which to address the offending property and to challenge the owner regarding the property’s condition. The approach in a particular case depends upon a number of factors including whether the property is harboring habitual criminal activity or is abandoned.
In some cases, when owners of crime-ridden or blighted properties are responsive and willing to take responsibility for their properties, resolutions are reached through negotiation without the need for litigation. Depending on the situation, ACT connects owners with organizations that seek to restore blighted properties, while holding the owners accountable for maintaining the property into the future. The resolution may also involve supporting the owner by, for example, restoring and consolidating the legal title to a residence in favor of a living heir who is willing to abate the nuisance. However, when owners of crime-ridden or blighted properties are unresponsive or unwilling to clean up their properties, then it is necessary to confront the owner of the property through litigation in order to bring an end to the nuisance that the property presents to the community.
ACT believes that the legal system provides remedies for residents of the inner city whose lives are being adversely affected by crime-ridden and blighted properties.
However, access to justice is often challenging because of the need for neighbors to act collectively, the culture of despair that has resulted from years of owner neglect of the subject properties, and the difficulties of obtaining access to justice. ACT accordingly assists in client and witness coordination, provides legal education, supports efforts to negotiate collaborative solutions, and connects volunteer lawyers with neighbors who need their services.
We consider it an honor to serve Jesus Christ as we serve the Dallas community through the work of justice.
It is our prayer that through this work, not only would Dallas become a safer, more stable place to live, but that we would also be God’s agents in carrying out his redemptive plan on this earth. We pray that freeing men, women and children from the oppression of urban blight and crime would give us a platform to share how Jesus has freed us from the oppression of sin and death and has offered us new life through His quintessential act of justice on the cross.