Denver is in the midst of a crippling housing crisis, made exponentially worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. As costs of living rise, wages stagnate, and thousands face unemployment, many of our neighbors, friends, and co-workers are faced with the threat of eviction. No Eviction Without Representation (NEWR) is a ballot initiative that will guarantee free legal representation to individuals and families who are served a summons to eviction court.
With only days to respond to a summons, fewer than 1% of renters are able to find or afford legal aid, while an untold number move out of their homes without attempting to argue their case. At the same time, more than 88% of landlords are represented by attorneys in eviction court, in addition to their membership in powerful, well-funded professional organizations that lobby on their behalf. This creates a huge imbalance of power, and the vast majority of eviction cases result in an eviction order against the tenant.
Universal right to counsel corrects this imbalance of power and knowledge by helping renters understand their rights when navigating the complicated eviction procedure. With an attorney at their side, renters facing the devastation of eviction have a fighting chance to stay housed, negotiate safe terms, find rental assistance, and avoid homelessness. We need NEWR.