U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has produced a video asking for attorneys and even law school students to be prepared to assist with millions of potential evictions, now that COVID 19 rent protections have expired.

KGVO News presents the video and Garland’s comments.

“Please join me in helping to address the housing and evictions crisis facing our country,” said Attorney General Garland. “Now that the federal eviction moratorium has ended eviction filings are expected to spike to roughly double their pre pandemic levels. According to a recent Census Bureau survey, over 6 million households are behind on rental payments and roughly half of those believe they may be evicted in the next two months.”

Garland said there may be a flood of homeless families unless attorneys join the effort to assist them.

“The impact of evictions on these families and exacerbating the pandemic would be devastating,” he said. “The legal profession is well positioned to provide support for tenants, landlords and courts during this crisis, ensuring that our justice system delivers outcomes that are ‘fair and accessible to all without regard to wealth or status’ is one of the highest ideals of our profession.”

Garland provided suggestions as to how local attorneys and other advocates might assist in the effort.

“No matter where you live, there are several ways you can apply your legal training and skills to help your community,” he said. “Volunteer with your local Legal Aid provider or join your Law School's clinical program. People are needed to provide legal counseling or representation to tenants as they apply for rental assistance, and to mediate disputes with landlords or litigate eviction filings in court.”

Garland said some state agencies have already interceded to assist families that have faced eviction.

“Many state courts also have adopted strategies to help families avoid the disruption and harm of evictions, assist tenants and landlords and obtaining rental assistance and relief court dockets,” he said. “Contact your local court to see if it has a program and how you might participate, possibly as a mediator or as appointed counsel. You can make a difference. Please start by volunteering today. Thank you.”

For rental assistance in Montana click here.

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