Nikki Johnson-Huston: from homeless to lawyer

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City of Philadelphia tax solicitor and 2012 USA Eisenhower Fellow, NIKKI JOHNSON-HUSTON, returned recently from a six-week trip to India and New Zealand, to study what social safety nets look like in two, very different countries. When she visited some of the most poverty-stricken slums in the world, many of the people wanted to hear her story: Detroit-born Johnson-Huston was born to a single mother, who was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and her family was homeless by the time Nikki was nine. Later raised by her grandmother, she moved to Philadelphia to attend St. Joseph’s University with a full scholarship. After dropping out her first year, Johnson-Huston not only graduated from St. Joe’s, a few years later she completed a law degree, M.B.A., and a master’s degree in tax law from Temple University. Johnson-Huston considers herself lucky, and sees poverty as a disease, sucking the “possibility out of life,” and has been developing her advocacy work in ending a multi-generational welfare system and helping others help themselves.

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