Detroit votes to provide free legal help to renters facing evictions

Low-income renters facing eviction in Detroit will be able to get free legal help.

The Detroit City Council voted Tuesday on a measure that will provide legal counsel for renters in need.

"Oftentimes tenants don’t have the experience to navigate the courts, and so this is an instrumental piece of legislation to keep people in their homes ," Council President Mary Sheffield said.

Sheffield has supported the Detroit Right to Counsel Coalition that was formed to help low-income families.

"I’m proud of this Detroit City Council for stepping up to the plate for changing history, for giving hope. I’m excited to take the next step today," said Tonya Meyers-Phillips, with the Coalition. 

Meyers-Phillips and the coalition’s supporters say Detroit has a long history of discrimination in housing that disproportionately affects women of color and their children, until now. 

"So many tenants end up going to court, meanwhile they are fighting landlords and businesses who have an army fighting against them," said supporter Taura Brown. "Now when you go to court you don’t have to worry about getting thrown out of your home without your voice being heard."

Attorneys will be available to provide assistance by October.