Right To Counsel Campaign
What is a Right to Counsel?
A Right to Counsel (RTC) ensures that every qualifying tenant has the right to free legal representation throughout every stage of the eviction process. Right now, only 6% of families in eviction court— who are disproportionately Black women—have access to an attorney. RTC will only cost $2 million in New Orleans, or less than 0.2% of the city budget, but is expected to save millions. Multiple analyses by STOUT, a global investment bank and advisory firm, have shown that jurisdictions should expect to save at least $3 for every $1 invested in RTC.
Why is it important?
Evictions lead to increased risk of homelessness. Evictions often weaken or eradicate social support networks. Evictions can cost someone their employment, can interrupt schooling, and often pushes people to live into lower quality housing and areas of higher crime. Many tenants see courts not as a place to assert their rights, but as sites of helplessness. Landlords exploit tenants, knowing most will not even show up to court. In some cities, studies have shown having an attorney present on behalf of the tenants, can decrease a family’s chance of undergoing houselessness by 70%.
Update: We won the $2 million dollar budget (fully funded) for a 2022 Right to Counsel program. Currently, we are ensuring it is an ongoing program.