The Miami-Dade County Commission voted to authorize the release of funds up to $2,900,000 for an Eviction Diversion Pilot Program designed to support free legal assistance for transformational eviction diversion services. The core goal of this pilot program is two-fold: to assist hundreds of at-risk tenants and their families, and to assess the impact of legal presentation on the housing stability of the residents served.
The funds are being directed to Legal Services of Greater Miami (Legal Services), who will work with CABA Pro Bono Legal Services and other community-based non-profits to provide critical advocacy, outreach, and awareness on tenants’ rights. The cohort of subgrant awardees are: Cuban American Bar Association Pro Bono Legal Services, Community Justice Project, Miami Workers Center, Haitian Lawyers Association, and the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association.
The funds will primarily be used to provide free legal assistance to households at-risk or subject to eviction and to create a comprehensive referral and intake process system to render legal assistance across numerous legal services providers. In a push to assist, residents gain knowledge about their rights, the funding allows for valuable services directly to the community, Miami Workers Center will be conducting door-to-door canvassing to households facing eviction, as well as trainings on tenants’ rights and programs. Lastly, it will enable the nonprofits to share data regarding housing needs and service gaps with the County to help improve plans and processes.
CABA Pro Bono Legal Services Executive Director Lesley Mendoza said, “We are really looking forward to assisting tenants within our community in collaboration with other legal service providers and nonprofit organizations. Together we will be able to provide these tenants with the advocacy and representation they deserve in landlord disputes and eviction proceedings.”
This Program reflects the latest effort by the County to combat the affordability crisis and complements its other existing programs designed to address housing stability and keep residents in their homes. It will provide direct legal assistance to more than 850 low-income County residents at or below 80 percent Area Median Income ($78,000 for a family of four), which would double the number of tenants receiving legal representation in local eviction proceedings.
About CABA Pro Bono Legal Services
CABA Pro Bono was established in 1984 by several of CABA’s past presidents to assist the needs of poor and indigent Spanish-speaking individuals in Miami-Dade County by connecting them with Spanish-speaking attorney volunteers. In 1992, CABA Pro Bono was nationally recognized by former President George H.W. Bush as a Points of Light affiliate. It is funded in part through grants awarded by the Florida Bar Foundation and proceeds raised at CABA’s annual “Art in the Tropics” fundraising cocktail party. In 2013, CABA Pro Bono also began collaborating with other organizations to provide additional services to veterans, active members of the armed forces, victims of human trafficking and unaccompanied immigrant minors. For additional information visit www.cabaprobono.com