Legal support for tenants facing eviction
Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
- This strategy can help support healthy living environments. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
- Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
- Provide representation for low-income tenants during the eviction process
- May provide an attorney in court, legal assistance and guidance, and other assistance to help tenants prepare for court
- Some programs provide additional financial and social services
Evidence and impacts
Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
- Legal support reduces evictions, especially for low-income tenants
- Tenants who are represented by an attorney experience better outcomes than tenants who receive limited legal assistance
- Reduced homelessness and improved financial and health outcomes
- Legal support can ultimately help municipalities save money by reducing homeless shelter utilization
Best practices in implementation
- Note: This content is under review
- Combining legal, financial, and social service supports can help keep tenants in their homes and avoid entering homeless shelters.
- Legal support programs can be more effective by putting more resources into outreach, intake, and screening for potential clients.
- Prioritize implementation in neighborhoods already-high numbers of evictions, high percentages of rent-stabilized housing in the area, and high rates of entry into the shelter system.
- Community engagement in multiple languages is a crucial element of providing this service in an equitable and inclusive manner.
- Partnerships with local law schools can be an effective strategy in building a pipeline of qualified and dedicated legal personnel.