HSC has issued a memo to City Council Members, the Mayor and the City Manager recommending that the City’s new eviction prevention pilot program include both emergency rental and utility assistance and legal counsel for those families whose evictions proceed to court. Both of these components are critical to preventing evictions. In Hamilton County, over 6,000 evictions were ordered through the courts in 2017. A recent study by the University of Cincinnati showed that 88% of landlords in eviction court cases have legal representation, whereas only 3% of tenants do. Without access to legal counsel, tenants are unlikely to prevail in court.
Additionally, HSC recommends that:
- Of the $227,000 allocated for the pilot program, $127,000 be set aside for emergency rental and utility assistance and $100,000 for legal counsel.
- The maximum assistance cap for one-time emergency rental and utility assistance should be set at $2K per household. Though many families will benefit from lower levels of assistance, clients who are represented in eviction court often need higher amounts to cover back-rent and late fees. We believe this cap level will provide maximum flexibility and better outcomes.