News Story (Wisconsin)
New York Times (NYT)
August 28, 2014
Link to article
Tags: Housing: Landlord-Tenant, Law School Clinics, Minorities: Racial/Ethnic
Organizations mentioned/involved: Neighborhood Law Clinic (Madison, Wisconsin), Legal Action of Wisconsin, Boston Bar Association
In Milwaukee County, for instance, the number of eviction cases filed against tenants leapt by 43 percent from 2010 to 2013, according to figures gathered by the Neighborhood Law Clinic at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Other parts of the country have seen similar, if less drastic spikes — and not only in high-cost cities like San Francisco.
The rental shortage has made the most vulnerable tenants susceptible to eviction. “So many of our clients are people of color, people with disabilities, people who have suffered extreme health crises or a long-term chronic illness,” said Christine Donahoe, a staff attorney with Legal Action of Wisconsin.
And in Wisconsin, the Legislature has gutted local landlord-tenant regulations in a series of bills, barring cities from enforcing statutes that required landlords to give tenants a reason for declining to renew a lease or to assess an apartment applicant’s ability to pay based on history rather than income. Money that went to legal aid groups to help prevent homelessness, allocated beginning in 2009 as part of the federal stimulus program, has dried up. A 2012 study by the Boston Bar Association found that renters with lawyers were twice as likely to avoid eviction as those without.