Gov. Tony Evers has announced his intention to create a Statewide Right to Counsel, which will provide no-cost legal representation for Wisconsin residents facing eviction. Evers’ budget proposal allocates $60 million over the biennium for this effort.
“Wisconsin’s residents will be well served by becoming the fourth state in the U.S. to adopt a statewide Right to Counsel for people facing eviction, said State Rep. Ryan Clancy in a statement.
Clancy, in his role as District 4 Milwaukee County Supervisor, authored a Right to Counsel for Milwaukee County that was signed into law last July.
“Every eviction has profoundly negative societal and personal costs that impact entire communities, from employment and educational disruption to elevated lead levels in children,” Clancy said.
The pilot program in Milwaukee County has helped local residents, including:
- From Sept. 1, 2021-Oct. 31, 2022, Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee accepted 2,394 cases.
- 77% of clients with a goal of preventing an eviction judgment had that goal achieved by Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee.
- About 71% of clients indicated there was a child in the household.
“These numbers mean families did not have to uproot their lives and children could stay in their classrooms,” Clancy said. “I’m grateful that Gov. Evers heard and acted on the compelling data and the personal stories of the many residents – from across the country and now in Milwaukee County — that have already benefitted from this, and I’m confident that my colleagues and stakeholders across the state will advocate for this vital, efficient and highly successful program.”