State Representative Phil Young (D)
120th Connecticut House District
Connecticut has launched a statewide Right to Counsel (RTC) program that will make available attorneys FREE to eligible tenants at risk of eviction.
The Connecticut Bar association is operating the program and working with the state’s legal services to provide attorneys to those in need. Right to Counsel will begin working in fourteen neighborhoods across eight municipalities.
These locations were selected first because they are eviction hot spots in Connecticut, with about 25% of eviction filings statewide brought against tenants in those neighborhoods.
Right to Counsel service will also be immediately available to individuals who served in the armed forces regardless of location. The program will expand to other areas across the state over the next two years.
Why It Matters
- Four Connecticut cities — Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, and Waterbury – are on the Princeton University Eviction Lab’s list of the 100 large cities with the highest evictions rates across the country.
- Due to discriminatory housing laws and practices and income and wealth disparities, communities of color and low-income women are at disproportionate risk of eviction.
- Evictions cause large and persistent increases in the risk of homelessness, elevate long-term residential instability, negatively impact mental and physical health and increase the use of emergency services including emergency room use.
- The short and longer-term impacts on children of housing instability can be even greater.
Where will RTC services be provided in the First Phase?
Attorneys at Connecticut Legal Services, Greater Hartford Legal Aid, and New Haven Legal Assistance Association will provide direct legal representation for tenants in the listed zip codes. Historically, 25% of eviction filings statewide are brought against tenants living in these zip codes.
Who is Income Eligible?
- Tenants with a household income at or below 80% of the state median income (or $79,900 for a family of four) will be eligible for representation by Right to Counsel attorneys.
- If the number of eligible tenants or utilization rates exceeds estimates, those at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level ($53,000 for a family of four) will be prioritized for representation.
How do tenants get notice of the program?
- The law requires landlords, housing subsidy providers and the courts to provide notice of the program to tenants at risk of eviction or loss of a housing subsidy.
- The notice includes the hotline number, 1-800-559-1565, and the program website, evictionhelpct.org so that tenants may find out if they are eligible for services, whether services are being provided in their area, or be referred to other free resources if not.
- The CBF and legal service organizations are also collaborating on community-level outreach
To find out if Free Legal Representation is available where you live and if you qualify You are facing the loss of your home or housing subsidy.
Call 1-800-559-1565 or visit www.EvictionHelpCT.org