Cleveland inches closer to right to counsel for citizens in need facing eviction

The city is one step closer to legislating a right to counsel in housing court for low-income individuals, thanks to Cleveland City Council legislation introduced on Aug. 21.

News Story (Ohio)

Jeremy Nobile
Crain’s Cleveland Business
September 5, 2019

Tags: Housing: Right to Counsel

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Society of Cleveland


If successfully established, Cleveland would become just the fourth city in the country — behind New York City, San Francisco and Newark, N.J. — with a guaranteed right to counsel. Studies show that would stand to benefit not just the individuals and their families facing eviction, but the wider community and, perhaps counterintuitively, even the real estate market itself.

It’s something citizens need in Cleveland, where the number of homeless families living in emergency shelters doubled from 2008 to 2016.

Statistics from the Ohio Supreme Court indicate there are roughly 9,000 evictions filed each year in Cleveland — where about 58% of all homes are rentals — and about 20,000 countywide. Meanwhile, an analysis by The Eviction Lab indicates an average of 12 people were evicted each day in Cleveland in 2016, where the eviction rate of 4.53% is nearly double the national average.