Linn County Law Library Eviction Clinics

by Amber Boedigheimer

The Linn County Law Library recently won a $41,000.00 ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) grant award for the operation and maintenance of an eviction prevention program. The eviction prevention clinic will help provide referrals to housing and rental assistance to qualified families that are facing imminent eviction from rental housing. Organizations that are in support of the project include: the Community Services Consortium (CSC), Legal Aid Services of Oregon (LASO), Neighbor-to-Neighbor Mediation, the Linn-Benton Housing Authority (LBHA), and the Albany Public Library – just to name a few.

Linn County’s eviction prevention clinic will offer low-income persons living in Oregon guidance in filling out court forms and/or the OERAP (Oregon Rental Emergency Assistance Program) application.  The clinic will also provide assistance with accessing a pro-bono attorney from Legal Aid, finding community organizations that provide information about evictions or helping fill out forms for various public services (SSI, WIC, unemployment, etc.). Project objectives and goals are as follows:

Project Objectives:

  • Early intervention by promoting mediation, negotiation, or arbitration and assistance from Legal Aid and other supportive services
  • A reduction in the number of Forcible Entry and Detainer’s (FED’s) in Linn County and the greater Oregon area

Project Goals:

  • Reducing the number of evictions
  • Preventing the cascading negative effects of eviction
  • Improving housing stability

The eviction prevention clinic will offer limited assistance with legal forms and referrals to partner firms or organizations for help with legal issues that we do not provide ourselves. The clinic will assist persons at risk of an eviction, find alternative housing options, or find sources of financial support to pay back rent and utilities. 

The law library will help tenants to complete the OREAP application, and will provide assistance with accessing court forms including fee deferral or waiver applications and declarations, answers to residential complaints, motions to set aside residential eviction judgments, and so on.

Direct services include (but are not limited to):
• Expansion of information, education, training and support for renters at risk of eviction
• Referrals to Legal Aid and other community services such as the Community Service
  Consortium (CSC) to handle emergency eviction issues
• The coordination of volunteer pro bono attorneys for eviction defense to help assist under-served communities

Tenants and landlords in Linn County can contact the law library if they have questions, need to complete court forms, or would like to attend a legal presentation about landlord/tenant and eviction issues in Oregon. For more information, please contact 541-924-6902.

About the author: Amber Boedigheimer is a Law Librarian at the Linn County Law Library in Albany, Oregon. 

Florida Eviction Resources for Self-Represented Litigants (SRLs)

By Katelyn Golsby, SR-SIS

Florida is not among those states that decided to enact mitigating legislation following the end of the national eviction moratorium on August 26th, and the state’s modified eviction and foreclosure bans were ended by executive order on July 30. Although federal funds for rent and mortgage payment assistance is available for low to moderate income households through the state’s Housing Initiatives Partnership program, the lack of state and federal protection from eviction and foreclosure is a heavy burden for the hundreds of thousands of people who have experienced a loss in income due to the ongoing pandemic.

Below is a list of free or low-cost resources available in Florida for those who are representing themselves or for those who are seeking free or low-cost legal assistance. Most sources are relevant state-wide, with a few being relevant only in Miami-Dade County, where I am currently located.  

Self-Help Sources

Florida Law Help

Interactive website that asks a series of questions about the user’s legal issue. Under the ‘housing’ section, the website has an Eviction & Ejectments option, and asks for additional information that may enhance the suggestions for legal help provided at the end of the brief questionnaire. Website users can select the Florida county in which they reside and provide information about income and household size for more personalized suggestions. The resulting webpage lists self-help resources like forms and FAQs and legal aid sources, like special legal aid helplines for veterans and domestic violence survivors.

Eviction Court Form Builder

Designed by Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, this interactive court form builder suggests that the user contact a local legal aid office when appropriate and provides a questionnaire that otherwise assists the users in building the necessary forms for their county and circumstances. The questions include a description of where certain information needed to complete a form may be found.

Florida Courts Help

Self-help website for the Florida state court system. Features include a court document builder, form finder, and a helpful video library.  There is also a link to the Florida courts help app.

Florida DCF Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Although it may be too late for some people facing eviction to apply for emergency assistance, I wanted to list this site because it provides links to emergency programs by county.

Legal Aid Organizations and Programs

Florida Bar Referral Service

Referral service by the Florida Bar Association. Can submit requests online or over the phone. The Florida Bar can refer prospective client to attorneys who speak English, Spanish, or 13 other languages.

Dade Legal Aid

Free civil legal aid provider for low-income children and adults in Miami-Dade County. Offers a wide range of services, including help with housing, evictions, and real property matters.

A Note on the Increase of SRLs in Probate Matters

While researching for this blog post, I spoke with other nearby law librarians to determine what kind of assistance is being provided to SRLs. Interestingly, it was brought to my attention that there are more people reaching out for assistance and forms for probate matters than for housing matters at this time. The number of people who need assistance with probate matters has risen exponentially due to the increase in deaths in south Florida. If any readers of this post have similar experiences, please feel free to reach out to me—I am interested in whether this is the experience of other law libraries, too.

About the Author: Katelyn Golsby is the Reference & Instructional Services Librarian at the University of Miami School of Law Library. She can be reached via email at Katelyn.golsby@law.miami.edu.

Resources to Combat the Eviction Crisis in Michigan

By Nicholas Norton, SR-SIS

As of early September, tenants across the country are once again facing the threat of eviction as the Supreme Court did not allow President Biden’s eviction moratorium to stand. [1] According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, approximately 103,456 Michigan residents face potential eviction in the coming weeks and months. [2]

In Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer instituted a state level eviction moratorium early in the pandemic, however, there is no indication the Governor will put in place a new one. [3] Even without a state level eviction moratorium, the option for a Michigan resident to delay eviction remains if they apply for federal rental assistance. State court rules delay the eviction proceedings for tenants applying for the federal assistance, giving them more resources or time to pay rent due or locate alternative housing. [4]

Michigan residents interested in applying for rental assistance can apply on the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) website. [5] MSHDA outlines the following eligibility requirements for applicants:

CERA serves renter households that have incomes less than 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) who meet the following conditions:

  • Individual(s) in the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or has experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the coronavirus outbreak; and
  • Individual(s) in the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability by being past due on utilities or rent.

Michiganlegalhelp.org is a free legal information website run by the Michigan Advocacy Program. [6] Their website has many self-help toolkits for pro se litigants in Michigan courts, is written in plain language to avoid confusing jargon, and can generate legal forms for litigants. MLH’s website has articles related to the pandemic and housing issues, including applying for CERA funding and legal information related to evictions generally. [7]

Michigan libraries have also been creating resource guides to aid patrons facing housing issues during the pandemic. These include Fennville District Library, [8] Washtenaw County Community College, [9] and Kalamazoo Public Library. [10]

About the author: Nicholas Norton is the Research Resources and Inclusivity Initiatives Librarian at Cornell University Law Library.

References

  1. “Supreme Court’s decision on Biden’s eviction ban: What it means in Michigan.” Detroit Free Press. https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2021/08/27/supreme-court-eviction-ban-michigan/5611539001/. August 27, 2021.
  2. “Household Pulse Survey Interactive Tool.” U.S Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/data-tools/demo/hhp/#/?measures=EVICTFOR&periodSelector=35. Accessed October 19, 2021.  
  3. “Michigan renters may face eviction after high court nixes COVID moratorium.” Bridge Magazine. https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-government/michigan-renters-may-face-eviction-after-high-court-nixes-covid-moratorium. August 27, 2021
  4. “Administrative Orders (COVID-19).” Michigan Courts. https://www.courts.michigan.gov/covid-19-news-resources/administrative-orders-(covid-19)/. Accessed October 19, 2021. 
  5. “COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA).” MSHDA. https://www.michigan.gov/mshda/0,4641,7-141-5555-533463–,00.html. Accessed October 19, 2021. 
  6. “About Us.” Michigan Legal Help. https://michiganlegalhelp.org/about-us. Accessed October 19, 2021.
  7. “Eviction and Other Housing Issues and Covid-19.” Michigan Legal Help. https://michiganlegalhelp.org/self-help-tools/housing/eviction-and-other-housing-issues-and-covid-19. Accessed October 19, 2021.
  8. “COVID-19 Resources.” Fennville District Library. https://www.fennvilledl.michlibrary.org/covid-19-resources. Accessed October 19, 2021.
  9. “Local Resources & Services.” Washtenaw County Community College. https://libguides.wccnet.edu/covid-19/local. Accessed October 19, 2021.
  10. “COVID-19 Legal Resources.” Kalamazoo Public Library. https://www.kpl.gov/law-library/covid-19-legal-resources/. Accessed October 19, 2021.