Milwaukee’s Right to Counsel Program Is Successfully Preventing Evictions, Involuntary Moves and Securing Rent Assistance

From County Supervisor Ryan Clancy on Milwaukee’s Right to Counsel Program, Eviction Free MKE:

“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 27, 2023 Contact: Rob Hullum, 414-278-4285

Independent Evaluation Shows Success of Evictionfreemke

Study concluded program prevented evictions and involuntary moves

MILWAUKEE – A recently released independent report on Milwaukee County’s groundbreaking Right to Counsel program—Eviction Free MKE—found that it successfully prevented evictions and involuntary moves, and secured rent assistance for residents.

“I’m grateful both to the many stakeholders who advocated for the Right to Counsel when it was passed and for the many individuals doing the work on the ground through Eviction Free MKE,” said Supervisor Ryan Clancy, who authored the Right to Counsel legislation. “Their stories and insight detailing the horrific effects of eviction on households and our wider communities helped us to take action and become the first county to implement the Right to Counsel. With this report’s release, it’s clearer than ever that this policy is right both for individuals and for Milwaukee County. I am hopeful that this compelling data will better allow Milwaukee County to be a model for other local governments and will urge Wisconsin to become the fourth to adopt Right to Counsel as a statewide right.”

The report highlights that six times more Milwaukee County tenants have legal representation than before the program was implemented. 76% of Eviction Free MKE participants identify as Black, 75% identify as female, and 78% identify as both.

86% of cases Eviction Free MKE takes on are considered “complex cases” which include factors such as defective conditions within the rental unit.

Public and private Investments in Eviction Free MKE come from Milwaukee County Board, the City of Milwaukee, and United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County and total $3 million. The program likely realized economic benefits to Milwaukee County between $9 million and $9.3 million.

Eviction Free MKE has the community support of United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, Legal Action of Wisconsin, Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee, Milwaukee DSA, Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union, The Peoples Revolution Milwaukee, ACLU of Wisconsin and Street Angels, Inc.”

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