Adult Representation Services Housing Court Team

2023 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Hennepin County, Minn., MN

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About the Program

Category: Criminal Justice and Public Safety (Best in Category)

Year: 2023

The COVID-19 public health emergency caused many Hennepin County households to suffer a dramatic loss of income due to underemployment and unemployment. This placed residents at high risk of losing their housing. The eviction moratorium was a short-term solution to what is now a crisis. Large overdue rental balances and a lack of affordable housing have increased the rate of evictions which are now flooding local court calendars. In anticipation of the changing economic landscape once the moratorium ended, in July 2021, Hennepin County Adult Representation Services (ARS) launched a Housing Court team to provide legal representation to tenants experiencing poverty. Our interdisciplinary team works together to provide high-quality representation and wraparound support to tenants. Currently, 100% of clients experiencing poverty have been offered legal representation on eviction matters in Hennepin County. In 2022, ARS served nearly 2,500 tenants, 76% of whom are Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). Tenants who are represented have better outcomes that include favorable settlements, securing additional rental assistance and expungement of their eviction record. This creates long-term housing stability for Hennepin County residents and advances Hennepin County’s mission to improve racial equity and support the well-being of all residents.