Posted March 23, 202111:53 am
As part of a countywide system to provide emergency rental assistance to prevent evictions and maintain housing for eligible County residents, Cuyahoga County will distribute $1 million in federal funding to The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland to provide legal assistance to County renters who are facing eviction due to lost income from COVID-19. County Council approved the funding today, as recommended by County Executive Armond Budish.
The funding will come from federal aid provided to the County through the U.S. Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance program; part of the Covid-19 relief package passed by Congress in December. With this funding, eligible residents will receive legal advice and counsel when facing eviction.
“We are providing this funding to help protect County residents from eviction. In many cases, having a lawyer helps to negotiate a settlement with the landlord that protects housing stability. Housing stability, in turn, helps family, school and work stability,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “Free legal representation for tenants with low-income is critical to heading off mass evictions, as many renters are struggling to pay their rent due to the financial impact of the pandemic. Additionally, legal representation helps ensure rent assistance is quickly and efficiently accessed – as Legal Aid attorneys now have deep experience using available rent assistance funds to make landlords whole.”
“Values of fairness and equity guide Legal Aid’s work,” said Legal Aid Executive Director Colleen Cotter. “Criminal and civil cases are handled differently by the judicial system; the Miranda rights you hear so often on television crime shows only apply to criminal cases. That means in civil cases like evictions, people who cannot afford an attorney are on their own. The County’s investment in Legal Aid to prevent evictions will provide high-quality legal representation and ensure great outcomes for the entire community.”
Due to the high demand for services, only households with incomes up to 200% of the poverty line, $52,400 annually for a family of four, can be assisted with free legal services at this time. People who need help can apply 24/7 online at Legal Aid's website (www.lasclev.org) or call 888-817-8777 during most business hours. Legal Aid can also help people with quick housing questions via its Tenant Information Line: www.lasclev.org/tenantinfoline.