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UCHC Affordable Housing Journal

Distinctly Detroit stories with a focus on homelessness prevention.

36th District Court to once again allow virtual eviction hearings, starting July 31

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

By: UCHC Staff

Published: July 14, 2023

36th District Court
Detroit's new Right to Counsel law requires free attorneys for low-income Detroiters facing eviction. 36th District Court's planned switch back to virtual first hearings later this month is expected to help improve residents' access to legal representation. (Photo courtesy of 36th District Court.)

Housing news you can use

  • Starting July 31, Detroit’s 36th District Court will once again allow virtual hearings in eviction cases — but only for the first hearings. Subsequent hearings will continue to take place in person. The announcement comes a month after the court resumed in-person eviction hearings to address an influx of filings. Housing advocates say that requiring in-person hearings could lead to more default judgments against tenants, at a time when evictions are already increasing. The move would make it difficult for attorneys representing low-income Detroiters to provide the free legal aid they're required to offer under the city's Right to Counsel ordinance. (Detroit Free Press)

  • Detroit’s high property-tax rates may soon be coming down. Mayor Mike Duggan says a split-rate property tax could change Detroit’s high taxation rates, lowering the burden for homeowners. Duggan says the City’s new Land Value Tax Plan could provide tax relief to homeowners and most businesses by increasing tax rates on vacant and blighted properties. City of Detroit CFO Jay Rising joined WDET’s Stephen Henderson Thursday morning to discuss the potential impacts the plan could have on Detroiters. (WDET)

  • Legal aid programs struggle to meet high demand: When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, legal-aid providers took on more housing-related cases. That's likely because of an influx of funding to keep people in their homes as they faced economic uncertainty. The dollars that poured in illustrated what it takes to try and fully meet the need — at least for evictions. "We were able to help most of the people who came to us and maybe not in the most extensive way, but really to make a difference and to give people the tools that they needed," says Ashley Lowe, CEO of Lakeshore Legal Aid. (Detroit Free Press)

  • Renters in St. Louis will soon have easier access to legal representation when facing eviction. Mayor Tishaura Jones signed a bill this week to create a Right to Counsel program that will provide representation to tenants facing eviction proceedings in the city. (Riverfront Times)


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