93% of Cleveland evictions prevented by Proper to Counsel program

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The program is a public-private partnership between the City of Cleveland, United Way of Greater Cleveland and the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

CLEVELAND – A report The program, created by the United Way of Greater Cleveland and the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, shows some promising results from the city’s new RTC (Right to Counsel) housing program.

In the first six months of the program, which began July 1, 2020, 93% of eligible RTC customers at risk of eviction represented by a legal aid attorney on the Cleveland Housing Court were able to avoid eviction.

The RTC regulation, Adopted by Cleveland City Council in October 2019enabled Cleveland to become the first city in the Midwest and fourth city in the country to offer free legal aid to low-income tenants facing eviction. The program is a public-private partnership between the City of Cleveland, United Way and Legal Aid.

The report also shows that 83% of Legal Aid’s RTC clients who sought more time to move (30 days or more) in the first six months saw this result.

Despite the good news, RTC partners are concerned about an impending clearance crisis in Cleveland, on top of the already existing poverty crisis COVID-19 The pandemic continues.

“Cleveland is facing a devastating tsunami if no more is done to provide the need and sustained relief to those in need, but the Right to Counsel Cleveland team works tirelessly to help families who remain at risk today – a number that will continue to rise during the pandemic, “said Augie Napoli, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland and senior partner organization for the RTC program. “A stable home is a basic human right. In the first six months, RTC demonstrated what is possible when the public and private sectors come together to advocate for low-income families at risk of eviction and landlords who.” look for just solutions. “

Before the COVID-19 Pandemic, approximately 9,000 evictions were filed with the Cleveland Housing Court annually, with the majority of evictions involving black, female householders with underage children. The number of registrations from households with similar demographics is expected to increase dramatically as the rental support runs out and various tenant protection measures expire on March 31st.

Even before the pandemic began, Cleveland was one of the most impoverished cities in the country, with the worst child poverty rate of 50.5 percent and the second worst poverty rate for working adults and seniors of any major US city.

According to CHN Housing, nearly 14,000 Cuyahoga County residents who applied for rental assistance have lost more than $ 203 million in annual income as of February 3, 2021.

In addition to free legal representation in the Cleveland Housing Court through Legal Aid, RTC provides additional resources for families, including rental support and other legal assistance. Those eligible for RTC can access services through:

Families can visit to see if they qualify for RTC www.FreeEvictionHelp.org or call (216) 687-1900 or 2-1-1.

Editor’s Note: The following story aired on February 3, 2021