CORRECTION: A spokesperson for the Washington State Civil Legal Aid Office clarified that Spokane County has not yet been certified to administer free legal aid. They are currently waiting for the bar association to provide updated figures before proceeding and allowing the lawyers to appear in court. The county is expected to be certified by October 18.
SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash .– The moratorium on evictions expired in June, but since then Governor Inslee has put in place a moratorium on bridges to help people make the transition and avoid being evicted from their homes.
Legal help or advice hasn’t always been there for low-income families at risk of eviction, but as of last Monday there is.
“I immediately broke because I didn’t think I had the money to move,” said Alexis Miller, a mother from Idaho who should be deported.
Last month we told you the terrifying story of Alexis Millers as she scrambled to find a place to live days after being evicted from her Post Falls home.
In April, Washington became the first state to provide free legal aid to tenants facing eviction.
“The goal is that we can save a lot of housing for people,” said Michelle Lucas, lawyer in charge of the eviction prevention unit of the NW Justice Project. “So even though the law went into effect immediately, there just weren’t any lawyers available to fill those roles for people.”
It is until now. A note sent by the Washington State Office of Civil Legal Aid certified that 12 counties were able to provide free legal aid to tenants as of October 4. Although Spokane County is part of this certification note, a spokesperson for the Washington State Civil Legal Aid Office clarified that Spokane County has not yet been certified to administer aid. free legal. They are currently waiting for the bar association to provide updated figures before proceeding and allowing the lawyers to appear in court. The county is expected to be certified by October 18.
People can start seeing help this month, if you qualify.
“It’s 200% of the federal poverty level,” she said.
If you already have a rent assistance plan, you may also be eligible.
“Also, it doesn’t go off right away. It goes off when a tenant receives what’s called an eviction notice,” she said.
Previously, the president of the tenants union told us that they were anticipating thousands of evictions by the end of the bridge.
“At least 2,500 evictions immediately,” said Terri Anderson, director of the Spokane Tenants Union.
And Anderson expects 2,000 each month thereafter.
That’s a high number that Lucas said they could help reduce.
“Low-income renters are often the people they are more likely not to be able to pay their rent for, they are more likely to lose their housing. And so, and it is more difficult for them to find new housing. “said Lucas. . “Having a lawyer doesn’t mean they’ll absolutely be able to stay at home, but it will really increase their chances because they’re represented.”
Of course, the Northwest Justice Project is only a provider, there are also local volunteer lawyer programs. So, if you’re worried about being kicked out, here are some resources:
North West Justice Project: https://nwjustice.org/get-legal-help or 1-855-657-8387
Eviction Defense Control Line: 1-855-657-8387