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Mon Jul 3, 2017, 10:20 PM

Lawmakers seek legal aid for tenants facing eviction in Baltimore

A state and city lawmaker began drafting separate bills this week to make more publicly funded lawyers available for low-income tenants facing eviction in Baltimore, which spends more money ousting renters than trying to help them remain in their homes.

Del. Sandy Rosenberg and Baltimore City Councilman Robert Stokes, both Democrats, hope their efforts can generate momentum for an issue that has stalled in Maryland while gaining traction across the nation.

Stokes has drafted a ballot initiative that would ask city voters in next year's election to approve or reject the establishment of a "tenant legal assistance fund." And Rosenberg has asked Maryland's Department of Legislative Services to research how other cities and states are funding, or proposing to pay for, more lawyers for tenants.

The Baltimore Sun on Sunday detailed New York City's $77 million program to provide lawyers to tenants facing evictions and a pending $4.5 million funding increase in Washington, D.C., for the same purpose. Boston and Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a similar proposal, which has been shown in San Francisco to reduce the amount of public funds needed to operate homeless shelters.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/sun-investigates/bs-md-tenant-lawyers-reaction-20170703-story.html

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