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Report: Evictions pushing residents out of Detroit, costing the city


A new report found evictions are pushing people out of Detroit.

The report was commission by The Rocket Community Fund and done by Stout, a global investment bank and advisory firm.

It examined the impact of a Detroit Eviction Defense Fund which would provide lawyers for low-income residents who could not afford one.

Rocket Community Fund committed $12 million dollars to providing free lawyers to low-income residents facing eviction.

Detroit's City Council approved a Right to Council Ordinance earlier this month, creating a program that will provide lawyers for some low-income residents

There are still questions about long-term funding for the program. It will launch with $6 million in federal COVID relief funds, as well as some philanthropic dollars.

The report analyzed 30,000 recent eviction filingsand found 4% of Detroit tenants had legal representation. That’s compared with 83% of landlords. It said a Detroit Right to Counsel program could prevent more than 6,000 Detroit households from being evicted each year.

Neil Steinkamp wrote the report. He says eviction causes trauma and crisis when low-income communities do not have assistance.

"In Detroit and certainly nationwide, you will find that eviction disproportionately affects communities of color and female-headed households," he said.

The report also found that tenants with representation are nearly 18 times more likely to avoid displacement.

Steinkamp said many of these tenants being removed from their homes are leaving the city permanently.

"The only option that they have is to leave the city, either moving outside the city in the same state or moving outside the state altogether as they try to find a safe and stable place to live," he said.

The report said that if Detroit invested approximately $16.7 million annually, the city could expect to save $18.0 million annually in social safety net responses related to displacement and evictions. The report also said that it would create an additional economic value of $39.9 million if a right to counsel were enacted, for a total economic benefit of $58.8 million.

Briana Rice is Michigan Public's criminal justice reporter. She's focused on what Detroiters need to feel safe and whether they're getting it.
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