L.A. renters deserve a ‘right to counsel’ for evictions

Here’s one way to help ease Los Angeles’ homeless crisis: Give poor, vulnerable tenants lawyers to help them fight unjust evictions. Why? Because it’s often easier, cheaper and more humane to help people stay in their homes than it is to get them back on their feet after they have become homeless.

Editorial (California)

Los Angeles Times (LA Times)
April 23, 2019

Tags: Civil Right to Counsel


The Los Angeles City Council is considering a proposal to create a “right to counsel” program to fund legal advice, emergency payments and attorneys to help keep struggling renters in their homes. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is exploring a similar proposal.

Even as a record number of homeless people have been placed into housing over the last few years, there hasn’t been a significant decrease in people living on the street. One reason is that people continue to fall into homelessness, often for the first time, because of a rent hike, landlord dispute or an eviction.

Advocates say that providing taxpayer-funded lawyers helps ensure tenant protection laws have teeth.

Los Angeles leaders have been looking at programs to prevent homelessness, and a “right to counsel” is a proven model to help keep vulnerable tenants in their homes.