Door-to-door: Advocates canvass neighborhoods, informing tenants and trying to prevent evictions

October 20, 2020

Cleveland DSA’s eviction-prevention door-knocking campaign has been happening biweekly for the past two months. As of mid-September, the group had used Cleveland Housing Court records to find, and knock on the doors of, 730 homes where eviction cases had been filed against the tenants.

The results have been hard to quantify so far. Sometimes, tenants aren’t home, or have already moved on. Other times, they’ve already made plans to move out, even though they haven’t yet attended their hearings to try to defend themselves.

 But there are some success stories. Powaski says that on multiple occasions tenants have told DSA members they weren’t even aware of an eviction before DSA representatives stopped by. Additionally, some people have been connected to Cleveland’s Right to Counsel program.

“We had a woman [who] qualified for a lawyer through the Right to Counsel program,” says Powaski, who is the Cleveland DSA’s communications director. “They hooked her up with an attorney and she attended her hearing via Zoom. She said her landlord got caught lying about her rent payment. She was allowed to stay in the property, and she has until December to pay back the rent for July that she owes.”

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