Supervisor Clancy Calls for ‘Right to Counsel’ Eviction Prevention Program
MILWAUKEE – Supervisor Ryan Clancy will introduce a resolution funding a “Right to Counsel” pilot program administered by Milwaukee County’s Housing Division through 2022.
“The Right to Counsel would be an important step forward at any time, but it is even more vital right now,” said Supervisor Clancy. “From school attendance, to lead levels in children, to job retention, it’s clear that keeping people in safe, stable housing is not only the right thing to do, but an incredibly efficient way of spending public dollars. The time is now to adopt the Right to Counsel in Milwaukee County.”
Right to Counsel programs provide tenants facing eviction free legal representation. Cities including Cleveland and New York City have implemented programs in recent years. Milwaukee County’s pilot program would provide a free attorney to any Milwaukee County household facing eviction or foreclosure.
Supervisor Clancy sponsored an amendment to the 2021 Adopted Budget requesting the Housing Division analyze the possibility of creating a Right to Counsel program in Milwaukee County.
56,420 evictions were filed in the City of Milwaukee from 2016 to 2020 according to the Track Milwaukee Evictions Project. Legal Action of Wisconsin’s Eviction Defense Project data shows 90 percent of eviction cases in Milwaukee County are dismissed or delayed when a tenant has legal representation.
The resolution is co-sponsored by Supervisors Sequanna Taylor, Steven Shea, Jason Haas and Liz Sumner. The Board of Supervisors is expected to consider Supervisor Clancy’s proposal during the June meeting cycle.