Milwaukee County provides counsel for all tenants facing eviction
03/27/2023, Legislation, Housing - Evictions
UPDATE: Report shows success of universal rep program
An independent evaluation of Milwaukee's universal representation program called Eviction Free Milwaukee (which increased tenant representation rates from 2% to upwards of 16%) has found that:
- The following percentages of clients had success in meeting their goals:
- 76% seeking to prevent an eviction on their record;
- 72% seeking to seal their eviction record;
- 70% seeking to prevent an involuntary move;
- 47% seeking to obtain rental assistance;
- 42% seeking to obtain additional time to move.
- 86% of EFM clients were determined to have at least one complex case criteria (and 31% had multiple complex criteria), which contradicts the narrative that eviction cases are largely simple.
- The program's $3 million investment was estimated to save the County at least $9 million based on avoided foster care, homelessness, health and school spending, and out-migration from the city
- In terms of demographics, 75% of EFM clients identified as female and 76% as Black, which is contrasted with the MIlwaukee County general population (51% female and 28% Black).
The report's release was covered by Urban Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Milwaukee County has passed a resolution introduced by Supervisor Ryan Clancy in support of right to counsel, and appropriated sufficient funding ($900,000 in 2021 and $1.8 million in 2022, as well as $300,000/year for 3 years contributed by the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County) to ensure that all low-income tenants have access to counsel. Program information can be found at Eviction Free MKE.
The Wisconsin Examiner, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Urban Milwaukee, TMJ 4, and Milwaukee Community Journal have more on the story.