Eviction on Trial

Cities from New York to Minneapolis are providing free attorneys to low-income tenants facing eviction.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Soni Sangha
U.S. News & World Report
January 22, 2019

Tags: Civil Right to Counsel, Housing: Eviction

Organizations mentioned/involved: National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC), Legal Services NYC (LSNYC), New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)


These numbers worry city officials nationwide. They see eviction fueling expensive problems, such as homelessness, truancy and unemployment. Desperate for a solution, an increasing number are latching onto an idea that looks promising: giving free attorneys to low-income tenants facing eviction.

New York City introduced the first program in 2017. Since then, Washington and San Francisco have funded similar ones. In July, Philadelphia’s council budgeted for a program and, in November, Minneapolis followed. In December, Newark, New Jersey’s City Council moved to have attorneys in court by summer. Some cities, like Cleveland, are exploring a pilot project. These investments, city officials say, will offset the cost of shelters and future legal proceedings.