Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) introduced the “Legal Assistance to Prevent Evictions Act” on February 13. If enacted, the bill would establish a competitive grant program to provide free legal assistance to households facing eviction that have incomes less than 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or that are rent cost-burdened regardless of income.
This bill is the latest in a series of proposals to address the eviction crisis. Nonprofit organizations and government entities with experience providing no-cost legal assistance to low-income renter households would be eligible to apply for grants. Preference would be given to applicants who propose using grant funds in areas with high eviction rates or where government entities have laws and regulations promoting tenants’ rights. Preference would also be given to applicants with demonstrated experience providing legal services in eviction cases, particularly for people with limited English proficiency or people with disabilities.
“There is growing evidence that evictions are not just a condition of poverty, but a cause of poverty – one that does disproportionate harm to people of color,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel in Senator Bennet’s press release on the bill. “Evictions have broad, destabilizing, and harmful effects on individuals and families, negatively impacting everything from health to education. I applaud Senator Michael Bennet, Chairman David Price, and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn for introducing legislation to help more families receive the legal assistance needed to avoid evictions when possible.”
The bill text at is at: https://bit.ly/3bCRAsz
Senator Bennet’s press release is at: https://bit.ly/2vtEkpr