Brown, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Discuss Courts’ Eviction Prevention Efforts

Brown Joined Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Lakewood Municipal Court Judge Patrick Carroll

LAKEWOOD, OH – September 16, 2021 – TodayU.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee joined Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Lakewood Municipal Court Judge Patrick Carroll to speak about efforts to combat evictions in Ohio – including the Chief Justice’s new eviction toolkit which outlines strategies courts can employ to help prevent evictions from occurring.

“We need to do more to get the word out that Emergency Rental Assistance is available and evictions can be prevented. It is critical that we have our courts involved in that effort,” said Brown. “Evictions have long-lasting and devastating effects on families and make it harder to fight our current public health crisis. Emergency Rental Assistance can make landlords whole, including the mom and pop landlords who especially count on this money, and most importantly, we can make sure families are staying in their homes.”

Last month, a U.S. Supreme Court decision ended the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium. Days after the moratorium ended, O’Connor alerted all Ohio judges and clerks to the fact that Emergency Rental Assistance is available, and urged courts to be proactive in trying to divert tenants and landlords away from court action and assist them in finding rental assistance options or other ways to resolve disputes. Her office released the Ohio Evictions Diversion toolkit, providing guidance and outlining strategies for lower courts to create eviction diversion programs, as a way for

“Early intervention is the key to help keep people in their homes. The sooner tenants and landlords become aware that this funding is available the less likely it is that a formal action will be filed in court,” said O’Connor.“There are alternatives to business as usual. Early intervention is key to keep people in their homes.”

“The Ohio Supreme Court toolkit underscores the need for judges to recognize eviction cases are more than civil cases for disposition. An eviction order impacts a person’s life, home and property, and in many cases, the lives of children who are uprooted from school when forced to move,” said Carroll.

It is up to each court to decide if they want to implement a diversion program and how the program would be structured. The toolkit provides information and resources to implement suggested strategies and a bank of templates that can be used in diversion programs. The toolkit was created with contributions from groups such as Ohio Poverty Law Center, Cleveland and Columbus legal aid organizations, Community Action Agency, Ohio Development Services Agency, Ohio Legal Help, and municipal courts.

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