All about the tenant right to counsel in Kansas City

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09/22/2022, Legislation, Housing - Evictions

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%.


Background


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.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

 

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The NCCRC has supported the efforts of some of the campaign participants.