NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – Getting evicted? A program called Right to Counsel connects low-income renters with an attorney.
Right to Counsel is $2.6 million program that was approved by Metro Council in June. It was funded through the American Rescue Plan and is the first resource in Middle Tennessee that gives low-income tenants facing eviction an attorney.
The two-year pilot program is expected to be fully up and running by the fall.
All renters in Davidson County will be eligible to get legal help and learn about their rights through Right to Counsel.
The program will be expected to help several renters in Nashville. A recent stud done at Vanderbilt found only 1% of Davidson County residents had an attorney while being evicted.
Erin Akery, from United Way, worked with Vanderbilt during the eviction study.
She said the new Right to Counsel program is expected to do more than give renters legal help.
“What it will do, I think is it will reduce the petty eviction filings that are happening now because landlords will know their renters are going to have representation,” Akery explained.
Metro Councilwoman Suara said she’s been working on this project with United Way, Legal Aid Society, and Conexión Américas for about two years. Suara told WSMV 4 there’s still a long way to go when it comes to giving renters more rights. Those laws are regulated by the state.
“Hopefully in the future, the right to have an attorney for civil cases, that you’ll automatically get one assigned to you like criminal cases. Hopefully, we will get there someday, but this is a good start,” Suara said.
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