Gov. Hogan: Fund Access to Counsel
After losing their jobs and income during the pandemic, thousands of Marylanders are at risk of losing their homes. Those at risk of homelessness are overwhelmingly people of color who have suffered both job and income loss during the pandemic. The displacement of these families will hurt those directly involved and will have ripple effects that drive up local and state government costs associated with homelessness, Medicaid, foster care, mental health, and education. 96% of landlords are represented by an attorney or eviction court agent. Only 1% of tenants are represented. That leaves renters at an extreme disadvantage, trying to navigate a complicated system on their own. Studies have shown that when tenants are represented, they can avoid the high likelihood of disruptive displacement in 92% of cases. The Maryland legislature enacted an Access to Counsel program last session but it needs to be funded. As a Maryland voter, I urge you to follow what states like Virginia, Michigan, Maine, and Tennessee have done already and provide access to counsel so that we can level the playing field in our landlord/tenant legal proceedings. Those who are struggling most shouldn't face the threat of homelessness without counsel, especially in a pandemic.
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District of Columbia