Eric Dunn wants to make sure his work has a broad impact.
And he's doing just that. Dunn is an attorney specializing in housing issues for the Northwest Justice Project, an organization that provides free legal services to people who can't afford them.
With so many housing cases, legal aids can become overwhelmed, according to Dunn. He says he has a responsibility to prioritize cases that will not only help an individual client but also have results that will help everyone facing the same issue.
He's currently taking on the Seattle Housing Authority. SHA administers the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, which provides subsidies to low-income people.
Dunn argues that the hearing process SHA provides to tenants who break rules is unfair. Tenants are being evicted for frivolous reasons such as missing meetings instead of serious offenses, such as lying about income.
"There are about 8,000 housing vouchers in circulation," Dunn says. "Each one represents a household...It's not just one person being kicked out of Section 8 housing, it's thousands of people getting kicked out without someone fighting for their rights."
Dunn says it's not a question of if, but when, the case is won.
Until then, he'll continue taking on issues that have a broad impact. The next big item on his radar is unfair tenant screening practices.
Dunn says most of the housing cases he handles have a civil rights angle, ranging from discrimination against an individual to a government agency doing something unjustified. These are the types of issues which he has a passion for.
"Anything that involves a fundamental unfairness gets my blood boiling," he says.