In mid-January, Mayor Kate Gallego and members of the Phoenix City Council approved an additional $465,000 for legal services to those facing the threat of eviction.
Mayor Gallego said, “There are only a few things more painful than uncertainty about where you and your family will live. Anything we can do to ease that pain is immensely valuable. This additional funding will allow an expansion of legal services and courtroom support available to those facing eviction. It will go far toward eliminating that miserable uncertainty.”
The council’s action authorizes the city to enter into a contract with Community Legal Services, a nonprofit law firm that provides a variety of legal information and services for free to those who would otherwise not be able afford it.
City officials stated that, according to research published by the Harvard Law Review, tenants who have legal representation are much more likely to stay in their homes than those who attempt to represent themselves.
They added that, “During this time when COVID-19 infection rates are surging, keeping families and individuals safely housed is as much a public health issue as it is an economic one.”
“Community Legal Services is extremely grateful for these funds,” said Pamela Bridge, CLS director of Advocacy and Litigation. “We’re pleased to be able to continue to assist tenants and, hopefully, keep residents of Phoenix in their homes. “