How Free Legal Help Can Prevent Evictions

Explainer, News Story (California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, NATIONAL, New York, Pennsylvania)

Teresa Wiltz
October 27, 2017
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Tags: Housing: Eviction, Housing: Homelessness, Housing: Right to Counsel

Organizations mentioned/involved: Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF)


In much of the country, more and more renters are devoting larger and larger portions of their income to rent. For low-income families, this can push them further into poverty and put them at risk for being evicted — and becoming homeless. Evictions destabilize families and cost cities money.  After a family is evicted, a city can end up losing thousands of dollars in property taxes and unpaid utility bills, and may have to bear increased costs from homeless shelters and hospitals. To address the problem, some cities are trying a new tactic: provide tenants with free legal counsel in housing court.