Combating Eviction: The Role of Right to Counsel in Housing
Earlier this year, the Northeast Ohio community came together through the One Community Reads program to read Evicted: Poverty and Profit in an American City by Matthew Desmond. The vicious cycle of eviction and poverty presented in the book spurned many conversations in Northeast Ohio as leaders and activists alike came together to determine possible solutions to decrease the number of evictions and transitional homelessness and increase safe, stable housing for our most vulnerable residents.
One of those potential solutions is right to counsel programs, guaranteeing low-income individuals legal representation in eviction cases. In 2017, New York was the first state to pass right to counsel legislation, potentially altering the housing court. In June 2018, San Francisco also passed a right to counsel in housing law. Several other cities, including Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Newark and Philadelphia, have implemented programs to increase legal representation for low income tenants. Cleveland is also working to establish a right to counsel for tenants facing eviction.
Vanessa L. Gibson
Council Member, District 16, New York City Council
Council Member, District 7, New York City Council
City of Cleveland Councilman, Ward 12
Kevin J. Kelley
President, Cleveland City Council