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Detroiters behind on rent and facing eviction can get help from the city

City of Detroit/Flickr

Some Detroiters have been scrambling to find a place to live after the Supreme Court blocked President Biden’s two-month order to extend a moratorium on evictions and 36th District Court resumed evictions for nonpayment of rent last week. The City of Detroit is offering a variety of ways to assist residents as the pandemic continues. 

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced the city is launching the Detroit Eviction Assistance and Prevention Program. As part of the three-point initiative, the city is connecting eligible Detroiters and landlords to funding to help cover back rent. And if a resident does end up in eviction court, the city will provide them with legal representation. 

Duggan said all residents have to do is show up to their Zoom court date and a lawyer will be provided to them. 

 “Normally, government doesn’t provide a lawyer in in a landlord tenant case. But because we do not want people out of their homes and COVID, this is an emergency period and that legal assistance is there,” Duggan said.

Duggan said that out of the cases that landlords are winning, 80% are by default because the tenant didn’t hire a lawyer and didn’t show up to the hearing.

The city is recruiting additional attorneys to take part in the program. They will be paid $350 per closed case. 

The city will also attempt to fast-track jobs for residents facing eviction. The city intends to use its Detroit At Work program to connect residents to jobs that pay from $12 to $20 an hour.  The city says there are positions open in restaurants, factories and hospitals. 

“There are a lot of employers hiring immediately. They are employers that don’t need a high degree of skills, and in many cases, we can get you hired in as little as 24 hours,” Duggan said.

The city has also been granted $130 million in COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance funds. That money can help pay rent for low-income Detroiters who’ve suffered a financial hardship due to the pandemic.