New Orleanians Deserve a Right to Counsel

No matter what we look like or what’s in our wallet, we all deserve access to an attorney when we’re in court at risk of losing our home, our belongings, and our health. Right now, only 6% of families in eviction court— who are disproportionately Black women—have access to an attorney.

Evictions were an emergency before the pandemic and will continue to be after. 5,157 families (or 6.7% of all renters) are removed from their homes in New Orleans in a normal year. Communities that faced discriminatory policies like redlining in the past are hit the hardest.

Funding a Right to Counsel in eviction court will level the playing field, decrease evictions and homelessness, stabilize families, and save money.

  • Louisville, Cleveland, Newark, Baltimore, and Milwaukee have all funded RTC policies in the past five years to level the playing field.
  • In New York, evictions declined by 41% since RTC was implemented in 2013. San Francisco saw a 10% drop in eviction filings in the first year.
  • 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 have shown that jurisdictions should expect to save at least $3 for every $1 invested in RTC.

Want to take a quick action now? Click here to tell city leaders that New Orleanians deserve a right to counsel in eviction court! You can also download a flyer about this issue to share with your networks here. If you are part of an organization or business that wants to sign-on in support of the RTC Coalition, you can sign up here.

Sources: JPNSI, Unequal Burden, Equal Risk, 2020; National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, www.civilrighttocounsel.org; STOUT, Eviction Right to Counsel Resource Center, www.stout.com.

Posted by Malcolm Phillipson 08/25/2021and categorized as Blog, News, Uncategorized