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:
- 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
- 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.