KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Four months after a new program aimed at cutting down on evictions in Kansas City kicked in, city leaders are calling it a success.
The right to legal counsel program making sure everybody who needs a lawyer when facing eviction has one.
“We’re seeing exactly what we expected to see which is that having a lawyer means the difference between staying housed and being on the streets,” said Gina Chiala of Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom, she also serves as one of the attorney’s.
“The success rate of the Right to Counsel program has actually been amazing in more ways than one,” said Jane Brown the Director of Housing and community Development for Kansas City , Missouri.
Thus far 89% of the more than 400 people who have turned to the right to legal counsel team have had their evictions dismissed.
That means either their case was resolved at their current home, or they were given time to move out before having an eviction on their record.
“If there can be a settlement or an agreement or if rental assistance m money is available. Then that’s a win-win for everyone,” Brown said.
The effects go past just keeping folks off the streets.
“We know that eviction exacerbates mental health problems and physical health problems,” Chiala said.
This also helps save money that otherwise would be used in these eviction situations.
“It’s saving the city a lot of money because there are enormous emergency funds that have to be used when a family ends up on the street or living in a car,” Chiala said.
Moving forward both women say more attorney’s helping their cause and taking on some of these cases would be a great help.
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