LASP housing attorneys Eileen Carroll (left), Don Cheetham and Susan Strong, and Emma Hertz, administrator at Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Development, presented a CLE in advance of the January 2018 implementation of Eviction Prevention & Intervention
To prepare for the January 2018 launch of the Eviction Prevention & Intervention Coalition (EPIC), LASP attorneys presented a CLE Nov. 30, 2017 at the Montgomery Bar Association. Susan Strong, Don Cheetham and Eileen Carroll, along with Emma Hertz of Montco Housing and Community Development, outlined procedures, claims, and defenses in landlord-tenant matters to prepare pro bono attorneys to represent tenants in District Justice Court. EPIC aims to prevent evictions and homelessness by providing both legal representation from volunteer attorneys and the social services available through Your Way Home.
With a goal of serving people at the time they're facing eviction and BEFORE they become homeless, LASP has joined a broad-based Montgomery County partnership of government, nonprofit, philanthropic and community groups. After months of planning, the Eviction Prevention & Intervention Coalition (EPIC) was formally announced Nov. 14 at a Montgomery Bar Association gathering, and officially launches in January 2018.
Over the past year, EPIC grew out of three converging initiatives. Your Way Home of Montgomery County conducted a 2016 research study in conjunction with HealthSpark Foundation of Colmar which identified eviction as a serious problem. Meanwhile, the Montgomery Bar Association planned and held an Access to Justice Summit in April 2017, which identified legal assistance to those facing eviction as an unmet legal need in the county. Finally, Legal Aid of Southeastern PA applied for and received funding to hire an attorney who would focus exclusively on assistance to tenants at risk of eviction.
As Your Way Home describes the project, "...EPIC is a six-month pilot project designed to stabilize vulnerable families and individuals in Montgomery County who are facing eviction by providing them with free legal representation and social services on the day of their eviction hearing." In addition, EPIC "will provide limited financial assistance to prevent evictions, and referrals to the long-term financial and social supports needed to prevent future housing instability." LASP will contribute expertise and experience in landlord-tenant law to train volunteer attorneys to assist tenants at Magisterial District Justice court proceedings.
"We're very happy to be aboard" said Eileen Carroll, regional LASP attorney for landlord-tenant issues.
The work of EPIC was featured after the State of the County update Feb. 15, 2018 in Norristown. To read the article from the Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 Lansdale Reporter, Norristown Times-Herald, Pottstown Mercury, and other Digital First Media Philly publications, please visit http://bit.ly/2CBX4Rp.