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New legal help for people in Toledo facing eviction

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 6:30 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Good news for people in the city of Toledo who might soon face an eviction. New money is coming for additional legal help so the playing field is leveled if it gets all the way to court.

In a typical year in Toledo, local legal experts say there are about 6000 evictions filed in the city. Which means court action. Court usually means lawyers. Not so in evictions.

“About 75% of the time landlords have attorneys and only about 2% of the time do tenants have attorneys,” said Veronica Martinez of Legal Aid of Western Ohio.

That’s why groups like Legal Aid of Western Ohio and Veronica Martinez welcome the $250,000 from the City of Toledo to Legal Aid and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE) to represent people facing eviction.

“It levels the playing field. It also educates them about their rights, defenses they may have that they don’t know about. It doesn’t necessarily mean the tenants will win but we hopefully are putting them in a position of moving from one household to another and not being on the street,” said Martinez.

“When tenants are represented by council their chances of a positive outcome are immensely increased. That’s not a shocking statistic because anyone represented by counsel and goes to court will have a much higher chance of success,” said Reem Subei of Advocates for Basic Legal Equality.

Subei believes an eviction disrupts not just that family but the whole community, kids who will lose school friends as well for example. These new dollars are expected to help about 300 additional people in year one with the hope to help hundreds more in the future. Maybe help some reach an agreement before getting an eviction on their record

To be eligible for these legal services, you’ll contact legal aid and able in the same ways now by calling or going online. Same process, just now more money for more attorneys.

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