All about the tenant right to counsel in Kansas City
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).
03/20/2023, Legislation, Housing - Evictions
UPDATE: Newest data continues to show program's success
According to data from the Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom (a right to counsel legal services provider in Kansas City) and KCUR, "right to counsel attorneys have taken 1,200 eviction cases and 771 of them have been resolved. Of those resolved cases, 91.5% of tenants have avoided eviction – almost a complete reversal from the 99% of tenants who were evicted before the program."
UPDATE: early results of right to counsel show dramatic drop in eviction rate
According to a press release from the City of Kansas City:
Prior to the pandemic, 99% of cases filed in Jackson County resulted in evictions. In the first three months of the Right to Counsel Program the City is seeing a drastic change. Initial data indicates having a lawyer paired with rental assistance shows an eviction rate less than 20%.
KCUR and the Kansas City Star have more on the first 3 months of the program.
In 2021, a campaign was officially launched in Kansas City by KC Tenants, Stand Up KC, Missouri Workers Center, Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom, and many other groups to push for an eviction right to counsel. The campaign called for $2.5 million in funding for the ordinance. It was covered (with terrific video footage) in the Kansas City Star, KMBC (NBC), KCUR (NPR), and The Pitch.
On December 9, Kansas City passed the ordinance, which will be implemented by June 2022. The ordinance guarantees full-scope representation and covers all tenants facing eviction regardless of income. Tenants facing eviction filed outside Kansas City, where the property lies within Kansas City, are also covered.
The passage was covered by the Kansas City Star, KSHB, KCUR (NPR), and Fox 4.
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 supported the efforts of some of the campaign participants.