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January, 2017

Program to help tenants navigate eviction process

A new tenant-advocacy program soon will operate inside Franklin County Municipal Court, where a high number of filings make for the state’s busiest eviction docket.

About 19,000 evictions are filed here each year, far more than in the Cleveland and Cincinnati areas, advocates say.

The Legal Aid Society of Columbus is hoping that onsite access to legal help and resources will help curb the fallout and keep more low-income families from losing their rental homes.

“We’re really excited. It’s a very meaningful project,” said Thomas Weeks, the agency’s executive director. “We will have a Legal Aid staff person there whenever eviction court is in session, and we will also have pro bono attorneys.”

Legal Aid received grants from the Columbus Foundation, Ohio State Bar Foundation and PNC bank to create the program. It aims to begin in March.

 

Read more at the Columbus Dispatch

Education, Developmental Disabilities, and Basic Needs Supported through Columbus Foundation Grants

COLUMBUS, Ohio (January 11, 2017)—Grants recently approved by The Columbus Foundation will help 25 local nonprofits address a plethora of needs, from providing meals to seniors and fostering independence for those with disabilities, to helping high school seniors apply to college. The grants, totaling $762,990, were approved by the Foundation’s Governing Committee at its December meeting.

One of those grants will aid people during a particularly difficult time. A $60,000 grant, thanks in part to the R. Leo and Juanita Lee Prindle Fund of The Columbus Foundation, was awarded to the Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) to support the Tenant Advocacy Program (TAP) aimed at reducing evictions in Franklin County.

Originally formed in 1953 by a single attorney and an administrative assistant, LASC’s mission is to be “the voice of justice for families living in poverty or near poverty, the disabled, senior citizens, veterans, domestic abuse victims, and abused and neglected children.” This grant will help enable an onsite clinic at eviction court, providing a voice for those individuals and families who are often not represented when facing eviction.

With nearly 19,000 evictions filed in Franklin County each year, this growing issue affects the self-sustainability of some of central Ohio’s most vulnerable. The TAP clinic, staffed by an LASC housing attorney and supplemented by non-lawyer volunteers, will recruit, train, mentor, and support pro-bono attorneys and legal interns who agree to provide short-term, limited legal representation to tenants.

 

Read more here…

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