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Eviction in the News


7/2/17 Philadelphia Funds Legal Assistance To Ease Eviction Crisis
"One of the biggest reasons is that renters, legally, stop paying rent until landlords fix substandard conditions, but landlords instead take them to court, where the landlords have lawyers but 92% of tenants don’t. At a March hearing, many witnesses said changing that dynamic alone would ease the crisis."
http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2017/06/29/city-funds-legal-assistance-to-ease-eviction-crisis/

Baltimore Sun series on Rent Court

March 23, 2017 All eviction all the time...
The impact of Matthew Desmond's book "Evicted" continues to ripple through the country, maybe because Professor Desmond has set up some on-going efforts to support eviction reform. made two recommendations in his book "Evicted"--one was for universal rental subsidies, the other for eviction court representation. What's going on in your jurisdiction to reduce involuntary displacement?
Two local courts address housing needs
      Two important stories about local courts in Cleveland and Columbus using social interventions in support of judicial decisions.Cleveland Plain Dealer profiles "Cleveland Housing Court program helps those in need find safe landing from eviction"

 January 29, 2017 Criminalizing Eviction in Arkansas
     The Arkansas Tribune Democrat reports on efforts by the Arkansas State Senate to make non payment of rent a criminal offense. No more wrangling with the eviction court...just call the cops and arrest the tenant. This proposal is actually a throwback to the past. "Arkansas' law -- the only one in the nation allowing landlords to seek criminal charges against delinquent tenants -- has been inactive for nearly two years after being ruled unconstitutional by a Pulaski County judge in 2015. Senate Bill 25 would remove the most recent changes to the law that caused it to be struck down." Local advocates believe that the law will be reinstated shortly despite efforts to block enactment.
     In Ohio, the General Assembly has not (yet) become so bold, but efforts by law enforcement to support board ups and banning raise the likelihood that a cop will evict you without due process.                           
More on efforts to criminalize home

posted 
NextCity profiles Baltimore Housing Court
Guess what.  Same story for Baltimore tenants-pay up or move.  NextCity says that these no choice options perpetuate bad housing and segregation. "Each courtroom visit, the same complaints are made, the same issues described, and the same ultimatum given: Jennings must pay her rent or risk eviction. Although the conditions of her house are poor — the basement sink had water running for two months straight, paint hangs from her roof and water has settled in the ceilings — Jennings is in no position to negotiate. “You can start talking, but then the judges say, ‘I understand, but we’re here in reference to this rent, do you owe this rent?’ They don’t want to hear whether or not you have any issues, 'Jennings says. “They don’t want none of that'.”

 August 13, 2016 Need an eviction attorney? There may be an app for that.
      Matthew Desmond, author of "Evicted" recommends universal representation for households facing eviction. Well, here comes Stanford student Joshua Browder. The Guardian reports: "Creator of chatbot that beat 160,000 parking fines now tackling homelessness." If you haven't heard of DoNotPay, the gist is that this 19 year old created a computer program to contest parking tickets and won over 160,000 cases. Now Mr. Browder is looking at eviction representation. "Teenager who designed DoNotPay to overturn tickets in London and New York expands service to assist those dealing with housing problems in the UK." 
     The start up will focus on the United Kingdom and, later, New York City and San Francisco. Mr. Browder admits he doesn't know much about the problem. ".... he used data gathered via the Freedom of Information Act to figure out trends in why public housing applications are approved or denied, as well as from a team of volunteer lawyers. This is so the bot can create the best possible application for each individual." The trick is to identify the available remedies that fit in each community. 

 December 4, 2015 Eviction in Columbus highlighted (as the funding runs out)
    Columbus Dispatch has a sympathetic article on Community Mediation Services' (CMS) program of eviction diversion which has been operating in the Franklin County Municipal Court for the past decade. 
    Here's the questions
  • Why after 5 years working with the court have the numbers of evictions not decreased? 
  • What is Cleveland doing that works better than Columbus?
    Why has CMS been helping to keep eviction "a best kept secret" until now when the money is running out? From the article: "With homelessness still at a high level in the Columbus area, a local mediation agency is calling for a greater focus on the staggering number of residents who face eviction. For the past decade, Franklin County has had more evictions filed — about 19,000 a year — than anywhere else in the state, said Shelley Whalen, executive director of Community Mediation Services of Central Ohio. Cuyahoga County has more residents but posts only about 12,000 eviction filings a year, Whalen said. 'Eviction, we think, is one of the best-kept secrets in this town,' Whalen said. 'The relevance to growing homelessness has been sorely overlooked.' The agency launched its Housing Stability/Homelessness Prevention Program in collaboration with Franklin County Municipal Court five years ago. Supporters say it has helped thousands of low-income residents resolve landlord-tenant disputes, get evictions dismissed, negotiate pay-to-stay arrangements or — if moving is unavoidable — voluntarily leave without a credit-damaging court action. But a grant that had provided more than $250,000 a year to help run the program is expiring, and Whalen is worried. 'It’s crazy to me that I’m as frightened as I am about our ability to continue to provide services,' she said."





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