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Columbus Tenant Advocacy Pilot Shows Strong Results

It’s probably no surprise having a lawyer with you in a court room is better than going it alone. But Jyoshu Tsushima, who heads up Columbus Legal Aid’s Tenant Advocacy Project (TAP), says they’re trying to put a number on how their legal advice has improved outcomes for people in eviction court.

“In the cases where attorneys weren’t present, it was about a 50 percent chance that the tenants would end up being evicted from the property,” he said. “And then the cases where we were actually directly representing the tenants, only 1 percent of those tenants would actually got evicted.”

Tsushima says going in, he expected only a handful of tenants would have claims that could help them avoid an eviction — instead, almost half had some defense available. The key, Tsushima says, is they needed an attorney to help them navigate the system and prepare their evidence.

TAP lawyers made significant increases in “agreed entries,” agreements between tenants and landlords to avoid eviction by giving more time for move out or establishing a payment schedule to get back on track. But with just one full time staffer and volunteers, he says TAP has only been able to consult on about 5 percent of Franklin County’s evictions.

Read the rest of the article at WOSU.org

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