Combating Eviction: The Role of Right to Counsel in Housing

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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


Mark Levine

Council Member, District 7, New York City Council


Antony Brancatelli

City of Cleveland Councilman, Ward 12


Kevin J. Kelley

President, Cleveland City Council


Darrielle Snipes

ideastream Reporter/Producer

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