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Jan 30, 2022

In October 2019, Council approved legislation establishing a "Right to Counsel" for families with at least one child to get free legal help when facing evictions.

On Monday, Jan. 31st., council received from United Way and Legal Aid an independent evaluation on Right to Counsel in the Cleveland Housing Court. Key findings and the full report can be found here

As of July 1, 2020, thanks to Council leadership, Cleveland became only the 4th city in the United States to legislate a Right to Counsel in eviction cases.

The effort has been funded initially as a public-private partnership, with a goal of being fully funded by City support once studies prove long-term sustainability and return on community investment. So far, Council has authorized the city to pay $850,000 to United Way of Greater Cleveland to help implement the program ensuring low-income tenants at risk of losing their housing received free legal representation.

Before the implementation began in July 2020, about 60 percent of the approximately 9,000 eviction cases filed each year in the city include households with children.

A study by Case Western Reserve University showed that an average of just $1,200 in rental support would have prevented a family’s eviction, a fraction of the cost of a family’s stay in an emergency shelter.

The program is jointly run by United Way and The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. They engaged an independent evaluator in 2020. 

Over the past year, the evaluator researched and analyzed and evaluated the impact of Cleveland's novel and nationally recognized Right to Counsel in housing. The evaluation is here.

Information on getting help if facing an eviction

Watch the Council briefing made to Finance, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee.