Right to Counsel/Free Eviction Help

Improving housing stability for Greater Cleveland

The Need

Housing instability, often caused by eviction, is a root cause of ongoing poverty in Greater Cleveland.

A 2019 study by Case Western Reserve University of evictions in Cleveland found that in eviction filings, “the average age of head of household is 37, and in 60% of cases, households have children under the age of 18 at the time of the filing. Among those that have children, the average number of children per household is 2.1. In most cases the head of household is a woman (78%) and African American (77%).” 

Right to Counsel

For those who suffer from generational poverty, housing instability can wreak havoc in other areas of a family’s life: 

Right To Counsel Annual Report

Review the Right to Counsel Annual Report prepared by United Way of Greater Cleveland in cooperation with The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland for Cleveland City Council and courtesy report to Cleveland Mayor’s Office.

The Help

In 2019, Cleveland City Council passed legislation making an attorney in eviction cases a right for low-income families renting in Cleveland. To put the law into practice, Right to Counsel launched on July 1, 2020.

As a partnership among United Way of Greater Cleveland, The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, and CHN Housing Partners, Right to Counsel provides free legal representation and rental assistance to tenants whose income is at or below the federal poverty guideline and have at least one child in their household.

In the first six months of Right to Counsel’s operation, 93% of tenants at risk of eviction and represented in Cleveland Housing Court by a Legal Aid attorney avoided an eviction or involuntary move.

Free Eviction Help launched on July 1, 2021, and expanded outreach and services to Cuyahoga County residents needing legal counsel while facing eviction.

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Free Eviction Help

If you are facing eviction, freeevictionhelp.org can help connect you to resources for Cuyahoga County residents and people who live within the City of Cleveland.

United Way 211

United Way 211 connects callers to nonprofit agencies that provide emergency housing and other housing-related needs. Dial “211” or visit 211oh.org to connect with a navigator who can help.

Eviction Lab

Review Cleveland’s real-time eviction statistics on Eviction Lab. The Eviction Lab at Princeton University creates data, interactive tools, and research to help neighbors and policymakers understand the eviction crisis.

Housing Stability

United Way of Greater Cleveland is funding four Community Hub grants that are tackling issues related to housing stability. Learn more about the nonprofits and their programs:

Doors of Hope
Doors of Hope Geauga will connect families facing homelessness toward stable living by providing food, basic living needs, and temporary housing.
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FrontLine Service
FrontLine Service creates a comprehensive approach to preventing and alleviating homelessness among LGBTQ+ adults in Greater Cleveland.
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Joseph's Home
Women experiencing homelessness in Cuyahoga County have no place to go to recover from significant health problems. Mary’s Home is a place for single, adult women who are experiencing homelessness and have an acute medical condition.
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Journey Center for Safety and Healing
Journey Center’s Domestic Violence Housing First Initiative quickly connects domestic violence victims to stable housing.
Learn More
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