NY Times Opinion Piece Makes ‘Civil Gideon’ Argument

Image published as part of a New York Times OpEd, "How to Fight Homelessness" published 10/19.

Image published as part of a New York Times OpEd, “How to Fight Homelessness” published 10/19.

A New York Times op-ed piece by a NY City Council member and a homeless advocate is making the case for legal representation for some civil cases. It is an argument about reducing the homeless population. They note that something like 80 percent of people facing eviction remain in their home if they have an attorney. They say that the advantage of legal representation is such that some landlords just don’t bother following through if the tenant has an attorney.
 
Council Member Mark D. Levine, representing the city’s Seventh District and Mary Brosnahan, who is  president and chief executive of the Coalition for the Homeless, continue making a financial argument: “It costs about $2,500 to provide a tenant with an attorney for an eviction proceeding, while we spend on average over $45,000 to shelter a homeless family.”
 
Read their argument here: How to Fight Homelessness

Another Young Voice For Civil Gideon In Minnesota

Move over New York Times, a student essay from Minnesota is adding another strong voice in support of a “civil Gideon” movement to provide legal assistance in certain civil cases. The Minnesota Lawyer website published the essay by Katelyn Gross, of the Hawley Secondary School, this week.
 
The work was part of an annual scholarship competition, and Ms. Gross makes points like this: “… when someone breaks into a home and steals an expensive television set, that individual is entitled to attorney representation; by contrast, a poor person whose housing is wrongfully being taken from him is not entitled to counsel, even though the result may be homelessness for an entire family… homelessness is much more disastrous for a family than jail is for that one individual, and yet that family is not entitled to legal counsel.”
 

She makes a strong case. Read more here.