Eviction Resources for Libraries

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Housing insecurity is widespread, in part due to unemployment and related financial issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. The civil legal process of eviction is complex and can be confusing to renters and landlords alike. People experiencing eviction may have difficulty finding safe and decent housing options; become separated from families, jobs, and schools; and face poor health outcomes (Cost of Eviction Summary Report). Eviction can have far-reaching and long-lasting effects.

Libraries are well positioned to provide access to legal information that is particularly helpful during the early phases of the eviction process. By leveraging their reference skills and partnering with law libraries and legal aid services, library staff can help patrons understand their options and navigate legal services. As part of its Improving Access to Civil Legal Justice initiative, OCLC’s WebJunction is partnering with Legal Services Corporation to collect resources that focus on strengthening library staff’s ability to respond to eviction questions with confidence.

Courses: Creating Pathways to Civil Legal Justice

If legal reference is new to you, WebJunction offers a series of four self-paced courses that will strengthen your knowledge and ability to identify when there is a civil legal issue at play and direct library users to relevant, helpful information and services. These courses, developed as part of the Improving Access to Civil Legal Justice initiative, are foundational for providing reference on eviction issues.

Enroll now

Events

November 18 webinar: Understanding Eviction and How Libraries Can Help
View the recording for this webinar to understand the current state of the eviction crisis, recognize the basic stages of the process, and discuss options for preventing evictions through rental assistance. With presenters Kristin Wong, Financial Analyst, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Rent Content Lead, Federal Housing Help Portal; and Deb Hamilton, Strategic Services Librarian, Pikes Peak Library District (CO).

Join us for the December 8 follow-up session: Libraries and Eviction: Continuing the Conversation
Building on the webinar, this special interactive session will provide an opportunity for attendees and guest panelists to share questions and experiences about how libraries are assisting patrons facing eviction.

January 12 follow-up session: Libraries and Eviction: Further Questions and Answers
WebJunction is offering another special session to provide you with the opportunity to share questions and experiences about how your library is assisting patrons facing eviction.

Key Resources

Five Phases of Eviction

While the details of the eviction process are determined by state, county or local laws, the general phases of eviction are consistent. This document provides an excellent overview, with particular attention to the earlier phases when eviction is more preventable.

For background information on the eviction process in the courts, see these LSC briefs:

Glossary of Eviction Terms  
This glossary defines key terms in the eviction process in plain English.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Resources: Helping Patrons with Rental Assistance
This job aid on CFPB resources is for library staff assisting patrons (both renters and landlords) who are inquiring about or applying for rental assistance through the federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program.

Customizable Eviction Flyer for Patrons (pdf)
This flyer uses plain English to summarize the phases of eviction for patrons and includes places for you to fill in your library's contact information as well as referral information for local eviction resources.

Finding Local Information

Housing and Eviction Resources

These national organizations provide search tools to identify local resources related to housing and eviction.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Find rental assistance programs in your area
Search for the state, county, and/or tribal program(s) that apply to the renter’s or landlord’s community.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Housing Counselors
Call the interactive voice system or search for a local housing counseling agency to get free or low-cost advice on renting, default, foreclosure avoidance, credit issues, or reverse mortgages.

Rental Assistance
Find rental assistance in your state.

Just Shelter
Provides a search tool by state to locate community agencies that are working to preserve affordable housing, prevent eviction, and reduce family homelessness.

If you cannot find programs in your area, call 2-1-1 or your local housing authority for assistance.

Housing Help for Specific Populations

USA.gov Housing Help 
Find housing resources for specific audience groups, including seniors and Native Americans.

VA Assistance to Help Avoid Eviction
Special focus on support for veterans struggling to pay rent, utilities, or other housing costs; Also find free legal clinics near you on the VA Office of General Counsel’s website.

Legal Assistance

LawHelp.org
Find free legal aid programs by state; most state legal aid agencies will have resources addressing housing and eviction.

American Bar Association
City and state search tools to find free legal aid or lawyer referrals. Contact the self-help office or the clerk at your local court; some will have navigator programs or a referral desk and will likely welcome the library’s assistance in getting accurate evictions information into people’s hands.

Eviction and Moratoria Statistics

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) Eviction Tracker
Provides access to multi-year trend data on evictions filings and related information for 900 counties in 22 states across the United States. Use the LSC Eviction Tracker Job Aid to explore trends in your area.

Eviction Lab Tracker
Tracks weekly eviction filing data since March 2020 for 6 states and 31 cities.

NOLO Emergency Bans on Evictions and Other Tenant Protections Related to Coronavirus
Scroll down for state specific eviction information and note the date the information was updated, at the bottom of the page.

Other local areas have their own trackers including: Atlanta Region Eviction Tracker and Oklahoma Court Tracker

If the above websites do not provide the data you seek, ask your local courts for eviction statistics and information on local or state moratoria.

Additional Resources

The Justice Center, Landlord/Tenant Videos
These short animated videos cover key topics in plain English and Spanish. Some content is specific to Colorado. Topics include: reasonable accommodations and modifications in housing; crucial conversations with your landlord; and best practices for landlord/tenant communication.

Maximize Partnerships
Connect with your local bar association and discuss setting up a “Lawyer in the Library” program with a housing and eviction focus.

Share these flyers with potential partners to make the case for working with your library:

Explore these partnership examples featured on WebJunction:

These resources were developed in part thanks to financial support from the Legal Services Corporation and OCLC. For additional resources, see our Legal Reference topic page.

Image credits: Top image, provided by Wicomico Public Libraries, where the staff partnered with the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service to provide cyber legal clinics. Bottom image, provided by Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, shows staffers Molly McKenzie and Hannah Groedel providing information at the 2019 Children's Hospital Resource Fair.