City of Toledo’s Department of Housing and Community Development Announce First Year Success of LAWO Right to Counsel Program

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

The City of Toledo is proud to announce the success of the first year in a multiyear right-to-counsel program in partnership with the Legal Aid of Northwest Ohio (LAWO). This initiative has provided invaluable assistance to ensure that tenants facing eviction have the guaranteed right to an attorney in Housing Court.

In 2021, Toledo City Council approved legislation (Ordinance No 418-21.) which allocated $250,000 per year for five years to LAWO to guarantee that tenants facing eviction would have access to an attorney while facing eviction in housing court.

During the first year of the Right to Counsel (RTC) project, legal aid was provided to 222 households facing eviction. A total of 602 individuals were assisted by RTC staff, who represented tenants in 227 eviction cases.

In 210 of these cases, RTC provided comprehensive representation and limited assistance in 5 cases, with legal advice given in 12 others.

"We're thrilled with the success of the Right to Counsel program in its first year," Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said.

"Every person deserves the right to have a roof over his or her head and live in dignity. With Right to Counsel, we are upholding the values of fairness and justice for all residents of Toledo. Every tenant should have access to knowledgeable legal representation, and this program symbolizes our commitment to providing that access.”

The Right to Counsel program is part of Toledo's ongoing effort to protect the rights of its residents. The City will continue to support this program in the coming years, providing even more tenants with the legal representation they need to protect their homes and their rights.

“Tenants are at a significant disadvantage when facing the loss of their home through an eviction proceeding. The City of Toledo’s Right to Counsel ordinance has helped remedy that situation,” said Kevin Mulder, Executive Director of LAWO.

“The Right to Counsel program has already advocated for hundreds of local households, helping individuals and families living in poverty stay in their rental properties or move to other housing. By representing tenants in these cases, we’re helping solve a crisis that often keeps people in poverty. We deeply appreciate the City’s support of this important project.”

For more information on the Right to Counsel program visit Legal Aid Line at the Legal Aid of Northwest Ohio website.