City of Lincoln Needs Volunteers to Help Tenants Facing Eviction Navigate Legal Process

Sept. 2, 2021, 1:03 p.m. ·

Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird
Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird at a briefing on Thursday. (Photo from Zoom)

The City of Lincoln is asking for volunteers who can help local tenants navigate the legal system with an expected increase in eviction hearings. The move comes after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Biden Administration’s extension of an eviction moratorium that had been in place since last year. Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said at a briefing Thursday that the city’s Tenant Assistance Project put in place last year has already helped 560 households avoid eviction, but more evictions notices are likely on the way.

“While many residents have secured rental assistance funds to stay housed, we do anticipate that there could be an increase in eviction filings in our community over the coming weeks,” Gaylor Baird said. “To address this potential increase in evictions, we are looking for additional attorneys and community volunteers to lend a few hours of their time each week to help residents in need.”

Baird said both tenants and landlords benefit when evictions are avoided. Ryan Sullivan is with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Law Civil Law Clinic and is helping coordinate the volunteer effort.

“Sometimes there are 20 cases in a day and three or four attorneys to represent them all,” Sullivan said. “If even half of those tenants are notified of their hearing and appear, we’re at a 2-1 ratio and those hearings go very fast. They’re all scheduled for the same time in a catapult format, so the more attorneys, the better.”

Mayor Gaylor Baird said the city still has rental assistance funds available to help pay housing costs for people affected by the pandemic.