Report Examines Effect Of Evictions On Cleveland Tenants

An eviction notice from Cleveland Housing Court.
An eviction notice from Cleveland Housing Court. [File image]

A report from Case Western Reserve University finds that evictions in Cleveland put a disadvantaged population in an even more difficult spot.

Cleveland City Council and the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland are working on a plan to provide attorneys to low-income tenants facing eviction. As part of that effort, council helped fund the study on evictions in the city, City Council President Kevin Kelley said.

Tenants facing eviction in the city owe about $1,200 to landlords on average, or about two months’ rent, researcher April Urban told council Monday. She said families can move into more distressed neighborhoods after eviction, and kids’ educations can suffer, too.

“In terms of school attendance, we see increased school absences, especially in high school children,” Urban said.

High schoolers missed about 25 percent of school days after eviction, compared with 20 percent before.

“We believe that all of our community efforts to feed, to employ, to make sure that our children are going to school, are really in vain if there isn’t stable housing,” Legal Aid attorney Hazel Remesch said.

Of the 9,000 eviction cases that move through Cleveland Housing Court each year, only one to two percent of defendants have lawyers, Legal Aid attorney Abigail Staudt told council.

Legal Aid plans to increase the number of clients it represents in housing court this year, with a goal of offering counsel for all low-income eviction defendants in three to five years.

Kelley said on Monday that the group is trying to assemble funding for the effort.

“There isn’t an identified source for this, we’re looking at different models that different cities have looked at,” Kelley said. “That’s not going to happen for nothing. And that’s the math problem that we have to solve for.”

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