Housing is a human right. Last year, we and our partners in the Baltimore Renters United coalition worked to pass a bill that will establish a right to legal counsel in eviction cases in the city, and the Mayor signed it into law. Now, we need to get it funded. The City should fully fund this critical program, which will keep people housed, by dedicating at least 20% of the $641 million of American Rescue Plan Act money to meet housing needs, including at least $12 million to implement the Right to Counsel legislation.
Fill out the public comment by clicking on the button below. Once in the form, click on “ Eviction Assistance” AND “Other” and write in “Right to Counsel,” and write a message urging the Mayor to use 20% of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to address housing needs, including $12 million to fund Right to Counsel in eviction cases. We’ve provided some sample language below.
Eviction cases have continued during the pandemic, and thousands of renter households across Baltimore are facing potential displacement and homelessness. While a Right to Counsel in eviction cases law was passed last year, it still has yet to be funded. We know that only 1% of tenants right now are represented in eviction cases, while 96% of landlords are, and that when renters have counsel they avoid displacement in at least 80% of cases. You led the City Council in passing this legislation, and now you must implement the Right to Counsel program with proper funding. With the ARPA funding, now is our chance. Please dedicate at least 20% of the $641 million to addressing key housing needs, including at least $12 million to implement the Right to Counsel legislation.
Once you have submitted your comment, we also encourage you to tweet the following to Mayor Scott:
Eviction Right to Counsel is a win-win by stopping evictions and saving govt tax $! Join me in asking @MayorBMScott now to use some of the additional federal funds to fully implement Right to Counsel & fund other projects to meet key housing needs: https://jufj.org/balt-arpa/