All about Cleveland's eviction right to counsel
While a state may have many statutes, court decisions, or court rules governing appointment of counsel for a particular subject area, a "Key Development" is a statute/decision/rule that prevails over the others (example: a state high court decision finding a categorical right to counsel in guardianships cases takes precedence over a statute saying appointment in guardianship cases is discretionary).
03/04/2020, Legislation, Housing - Evictions
Update: media story examines implementation plan for right to counsel
FreshWater explored the planned implementation of the right to counsel for tenants with children.
Update: Case Western study looks at impact of evictions on child health/school in Cleveland
A Case Western study commissioned by the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland found, among other things, that evicted children are at higher risk of lead exposure and negative educational outcomes, and that low-income black women are evicted at a disproportionate rate.
Update: Cleveland bar journal looks at recent passage of eviction right to counsel
Two articles in the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Journal look at the recent passage of the ordinance establishing a right to counsel in Cleveland eviction cases. The first is by Cleveland Council President Kevin Kelley (who introduced the ordinance) while the other is by Bar President Ian Friedman and highlights the incredible work of Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, and in particular NCCRC participant Hazel Remesch, to build this right to counsel effort up from nothing.
Update: City Council passes bill, making Cleveland first midwest city with an eviction right to counsel
In October 2019, the Cleveland City Council passed the right to counsel bill, establishing a right to counsel to tenants facing eviction who are at or below 100% of the federal poverty level and have children. Coverage is in News 5 Cleveland, cleveland.com, Crain’s Cleveland Business, and WZAK. There are also press releases from the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland (the service provider) and the United Way (the implementer).
On August 21, 2019, a bill was introduced to the Cleveland City Council that would provide a right to counsel for families with children facing eviction who are at or below 100% of the federal poverty line. Eviction has roughly 9,000 evictions filed per year and only 1-2% of tenants currently have counsel. The bill asserts that
lack of legal counsel for tenants during eviction cases is a violation of a basic human right ... this housing emergency destabilizes families and neighborhoods, especially the most vulnerable among us, resulting in homelessness, decreased property values, and harm to social tranquility and the general welfare of the City ...these conditions pose a serious threat to the public health, safety and welfare of the residents of the City, as well as to the City’s economic stability, viability and growth.
If "yes", the established right to counsel or discretionary appointment of counsel is limited in some way, including any of: the only authority is a lower/intermediate court decision or a city council, not a high court or state legislature; there has been a subsequent case that has cast doubt; a statute is ambiguous; or the right or discretionary appointment is not for all types of individuals or proceedings within that category.
Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes
The NCCRC has worked with advocates over the last several years to advance this bill.