Anti-Eviction Advocates Want the DOJ to Support the Right to Counsel Movement

By Josh Cohen: For Entire Post, Click Here…

The revival of an office within the Department of Justice that is focused on equitable legal representation has tenants’ rights advocates calling on the federal government to do more to strengthen the right to counsel movement.

When Congress failed to pass a national eviction moratorium of its own on July 30, tenants’ rights advocates were sent scrambling to lobby state and local governments to enact or extend their own eviction moratoriums, at least until renters can access the federal rent relief funds for which they’re eligible.

It was a familiar terrain for those tenants’ rights advocates. The right to counsel movement—which has fought to give tenants guaranteed access to legal representation in eviction proceedings—has largely taken place in state legislatures and city councils, which have the authority to pass such laws. But now, thanks to the revival of an office within the Department of Justice (DOJ) that is focused on equitable legal representation, tenants’ rights advocates are looking to the federal government for help strengthening the right to counsel movement as the impacts of the COVID-19 eviction crisis play out now—despite a two-month extension of the moratorium—and in the years to come. 

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