DENVER – People in Denver who are facing eviction or have already been evicted from their homes will be able to take advantage of a new legal defense pilot program unveiled Wednesday.
Colorado Legal Services and other lawyers are participating in the pilot program, which comes on the heels of a study that showed that most tenants facing eviction can’t hire lawyers because they either choose not to or can’t afford one.
On the other hand, the study showed that 90 percent of landlords in those cases did have legal representation and were more likely to win the cases.
All 13 members of the Denver City Council supported the pilot program and many of the council members donated money from their office budgets or personal accounts to start the program.
“Legal defense in eviction cases improves the chance a renter will be able to stay in their home and reduces the financial burden on taxpayers,” Councilman Paul Kashmann said.
Denver tenants who have already been served with an eviction notice, have received court papers or have housing issues are asked to contact Colorado Legal Services to be screened for eligibility. CLS says it will “generally” be able to provide services to households earning up to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, as well as the elderly.
“I want to share my sincere thanks to the community voices who helped to elevate the importance of addressing evictions and paved the way for the collaboration that made this pilot possible,” said Councilwoman Robin Kniech, who chairs the council’s Housing and Homelessness Work Group.
“The City Council donations will help level the playing field for low-income renters,” said Jonathan Asher, executive director of Colorado Legal Services. “This project brings us closer to delivering on that foundational promise of justice for all.”