Cleveland becomes first midwest city with eviction right to counsel

10/10/2019, Legislation, Housing - Evictions

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).

 

Background

 

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.


The bill's introduction was covered by the Cleveland Plains-Dealer and Law360.  You can also check out the press release from Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.  

 

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The NCCRC has worked with advocates over the last several years to advance this bill.