During the past two years, Neighborhood Preservation, Inc. worked with the City of Memphis and Shelby County to launch the local Emergency Rental Assistance program, a $90 million program with a strong eviction prevention and legal services component. The SJI grant supported the development of court data tools to identify ERA applicants facing upcoming court eviction and pair them with legal representation. The court data allowed ERA attorneys to prioritize assistance and representation for tenants by their upcoming court dates. In total, ERA attorneys used the SJI-funded tools to make possible legal representation for 13,000 tenants who received more than $50 million in rental assistance. The grant also supported a robust court watch program to chart outcomes of proceedings across 4,000 eviction cases to gain a deeper understanding of the eviction process in Shelby County.
Currently, NPI is working to systemize the court data tools created. Our goal is to develop open-source data tools that can be accessible to other legal services providers and interested stakeholders such as community activists, judges, and tenants. Legal service providers in particular will be able to use our tool to search for case information in bulk and triage cases by the date of upcoming hearings. NPI has joined a national network of 35 non-profit organizations supported by the National Low Income Housing Coalition to advocate for reforms to improve Emergency Rental Assistance programs across the country, and in doing so, NPI has engaged opportunities to share our tools and help other municipalities develop similar tools to identify demographics and cause for eviction filings in areas of concentrated evictions.
Eviction data dashboard, to be online and tracking court outcomes beginning this summer:
Preview of report on court watch outcomes, estimated to be available and online this summer, and featured at Memphis’s local Evicted exhibit:
Eviction legal help featured in NPR: https://www.npr.org/2021/09/01/1031899066/cdc-eviction-ban-moratorium-emergency-rental-assistance-memphis