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  • County allocates up to $2 million for emergency eviction legal defense

    Mar 16, 2021 | Read More News
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    The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to designate up to $2 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to support legal services for residents facing eviction.

    These new legal services can aid eligible Pima County residents who:<br />
    • Attest they have suffered loss of income or financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Are financially unable to afford counsel, and
    • Are currently facing an eviction filing or judgment for either non-payment of rent or “material non-compliance” with lease, or who face an eviction filing in the coming weeks or months for either non-payment of rent or “material non-compliance” with lease.
    The goals of the funding are to expand outside agency-provided Eviction Prevention Clinics and to support the availability of outside private counsel for tenants in need of eviction defense services. Various outside partners may provide direct legal services or guide tenants through the legal process in “navigator” roles.

    “Pima County’s Taskforce on the Prevention of Evictions and Homelessness found that tenants represented by attorneys have better outcomes,” said District 2 Supervisor Dr. Matt Heinz.

    “Today the Board of Supervisors took a monumental step in leveling the playing field for folks in our community who are facing eviction. We'll spend up to $2 million to provide lawyers for tenants who've fallen behind on rent. Together we can keep our community housed, healthy and safe.”

    Private law practices or nonprofit organizations may provide legal eviction defense services that include:
    • Efforts to remedy a case disposition before the court hearing
    • Representing the tenant/defendant in all court proceedings or hearings prior to an eviction trial
    • Providing representation at the eviction trial.
    This allocation of legal defense funds is part of a larger County effort to address eviction prevention amid COVID-19.

    Also on March 16, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved that $8 million of its $15 million allocation for rental and utility assistance in federal relief funds be dedicated to a shared county-city program administered by the Community Investment Corporation (CIC). Program information and an application link is available at tucsonpimaep.com.

    The remaining $7 million in Pima County’s rent/utility assistance is being processed by the County’s Community Action Agency after tenants or landlords initiate the application via the CIC.