Study Shows Eviction ‘Right To Counsel’ Program Has Positive Impact In Okla. County

More than 15,000 people were evicted from their homes in 2023 in Oklahoma County, according to Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma. However, a pilot program called “Right To Counsel” was started to help curb that number.

Thursday, June 20th 2024, 5:09 pm

By: News 9, Deanne Stein


-

More than 15,000 people were evicted from their homes in 2023 in Oklahoma County, according to Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma.

However, a pilot program called “Right To Counsel” was started to help curb that number. Now, the findings of a study released by STOUT on Thursday show the program is working.

“I'm surprised to see just how much of an impact we had,” said Ashlee Barker.

Barker is a staff attorney with LASO. “Keeping your home is an important goal,” she said. “It's not something a lot of tenants have a lot of power during that process.”

That’s where she steps in, to empower tenants with legal representation to help them avoid being evicted.

“It's a scary process,” Barker said. “Whenever a tenant has an attorney, they have a higher chance to remain housed or avoid some improper debt.”

Through LASO, the Right To Counsel pilot program started in three targeted areas of Oklahoma County last year. Under the STOUT survey, the organization wanted to see the impact it has had so far.

“That was their goal, ‘I want to stay in my home,’” said Figgins. “96% of the time that was what happened.” 

The study also showed a seven-to-one return on economic dollars. Those savings for the county and cities were seen in several areas including homelessness, health care, and reduction in crimes.

"The findings of the STOUT study make it clear that the Right to Counsel Program is not just a temporary fix but a necessary investment in the well-being of our communities,” said Michael Figgins, LASO Executive Director. “Providing legal representation to tenants facing eviction is a crucial step, but we must also focus on long-term solutions that address the root causes of housing instability. By doing so, we can create a more stable and prosperous economic environment for everyone."

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma hopes to continue the program and even expand it through a HUD grant. The deadline to apply is August 20. They must first secure an ordinance or partnership with the county or city to be eligible to apply.

If you are at risk of eviction and live within these zip codes in Oklahoma County, 73111, 73119, or 73120, you may qualify for free legal advice or representation. Call 405-554-INFO (4636) for free eviction help.

To access the complete STOUT study, visit https://www.legalaidok.org/okc-rtc-program/.  

logo

Get The Daily Update!

Be among the first to get breaking news, weather, and general news updates from News 9 delivered right to your inbox!

More Like This

June 20th, 2024

July 16th, 2024

July 16th, 2024

July 15th, 2024

Top Headlines

July 17th, 2024

July 17th, 2024

July 17th, 2024

July 17th, 2024