Detroit’s eviction court, the largest district court in the state and one of the busiest in the country, hears approximately 30,000 eviction cases per year, but almost none of the tenants are represented by lawyers in court. Legal aid groups serving low-income tenants in their eviction cases can only cover a fraction of the legal need, and Detroit is facing an eviction crisis now that rental housing aid and supports from the COVID-19 pandemic are ending. In 2020 the ACLU of Michigan began working with a coalition to provide the legal support and analysis needed to craft a city ordinance that would address this problem. In May 2022 these efforts paid off when the Detroit City Council passed a comprehensive right-to-counsel ordinance guaranteeing full legal representation to all indigent tenants facing eviction in the 36th District Court in Detroit. (ACLU Attorney Bonsitu Kitaba-Gaviglio.)
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