Detroit program aims to help renters facing eviction with legal, financial aid

Even if a judge has ordered an eviction, residents may be able to appeal the case or receive help

The federal ban on eviction ended Sept. 7, 2021.
The federal ban on eviction ended Sept. 7, 2021. (WDIV)

DETROIT – A new program that aims to assist Detroiters facing eviction was announced by city officials Friday.

The Detroit Eviction Assistance and Prevention Program looks to help residents financially, legally or through job placement.

The federal eviction moratorium, which had protected renters nationwide for about a year, ended in August.

Related: How the end of the eviction ban is impacting Metro Detroit residents

“The resumption of evictions is going to be difficult for a lot of people who fell behind on their rent during COVID. In Detroit, we want to help keep people in their homes,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. “We are going to use all the resources at our disposal to help them avoid eviction, get caught up on their rent and stay caught up.”

Read: Two anchors of COVID safety net ending, affecting millions

The program offers free legal assistance for those who have received a demand for rent or an eviction notice. Residents can be assigned an attorney who will help advise or represent them.

For legal aid, residents can apply at DetroitEvictionHelp.org or by phone at 866-313-2520.

While most cases will be handed by the United Community Housing Coalition and Michigan Legal Services, the city is recruiting attorneys for the program. The attorneys will be paid $350 per closed case. Attorneys can apply at Detroit’s official website here.

Only a judge can issue an order of eviction and only a court officer or bailiff can carry out an eviction.

Additionally, the city has been allocated $130 million in COVID Emergency Rental Assistance funds for financial assistance for past due rent and utilities.

Eligibility for COVID Emergency Rental Assistance funds is based on income and COVID impact.

  • Residents are eligible if they are a single-person household and earn less than $44,000 per year or a family of four earning less than $62,000.
  • Families who have suffered a COVID-related financial hardship -- such as reduced income or greater expenses.
  • Residents are not required to have an active court case to apply.

For residents who are unable to pay rent due to unemployment or insufficient income, numerous employers have agreed to prioritize hiring through Detroit At Work. Residents can apply at DetroitEvictionHelp.org or by phone at 866-962-WORK and ask for the Rapid Jobs program.

Employers looking to hire Detroiters can get involved through the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation website here or by phone at 866-962-WORK -- ask for Business Services.

The city said the most important thing resident facing eviction can do is to show up for their court cases.

“Landlords are winning nearly 80% of eviction cases by default because the tenant does not show up,” Duggan said. “We can’t help you if you don’t show up and we have attorneys ready to help you.”

Landlords whose tenants are behind on rent also can file an application for rental assistance. City officials said the program makes direct payments to landlords in most cases.

Landlords can apply at DetroitEvictionHelp.org. For landlords who don’t have a current rental registration or certificate of compliance, visit Detroit’s official Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department website here.

Read: More eviction moratorium coverage


COVID-19 Discussion Forum:

Join our dedicated space to discuss the pandemic. You’re invited to share questions, experiences, insights and opinions.

Join the conversation here.