Sep 27, 2022 - News

Right to Counsel program delayed

Renters advocates demonstrate at Spirit Plaza

Renter advocates demonstrate outside Spirit Plaza. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

A program to offer legal representation to tenants facing eviction won't begin as planned.

Driving the news: The city will miss its Oct. 1 deadline to set up an office for eviction defense, the Free Press reports.

  • Tenant advocates warned months ago this would happen, saying they didn't see any urgency from city leadership despite the program being established by an approved ordinance.

Why it matters: Providing legal representation won't solve Detroit's housing crisis, but it will make low-income tenants less likely to be evicted.

  • Residents needing services now can still use the state's CERA program.

Details: The Gilbert Family Foundation is giving $13 million over the next three years to its Detroit Eviction Defense fund, which builds on the $6 million in federal pandemic funding that City Council approved with its "Right to Counsel" ordinance.

  • The program would serve those making below 200% of the federal poverty threshold — individuals making less than $27,180 — who are facing eviction proceedings or property tax foreclosures in the 36th District Court.

What's next: The city is working to get through the American Rescue Plan compliance process, the city's corporation counsel told the Free Press.

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