State Reps. Christine Barber and Paul Brodeur to Visit Housing Court
BOSTON, May 5, 2016—State Representative Christine Barber of Somerville and State Representative Paul Brodeur of Melrose will visit Housing Court at the Brooke Courthouse in Boston at 9am on Thursday, May 12, 2016.
Barbara Zimbel, a civil legal aid attorney from Greater Boston Legal Services, will give the lawmakers a tour of Housing Court, which has jurisdiction over civil and criminal actions relating to the health, safety, or welfare of the occupants or owners of residential housing. They will be joined by Massachusetts Bar Association President Robert W. Harnais and Equal Justice Coalition Chair John Carroll.
“Approximately 90 percent of people in Housing Court attempting to defend themselves in foreclosure or eviction proceedings do not have legal representation because they cannot afford an attorney,” said Carroll. “We know that two-thirds of those who are facing eviction and have an attorney are able to keep their housing while only one-third of those without legal representation are able to do so.”
Harnais added: “Statistics clearly show the incredible difference legal aid makes when it comes to improving access to justice. But I’m a proponent of seeing is believing, and the unfortunate reality is you can see the effects of inadequate funding for legal aid every day in our courthouses. With so many of our citizens fighting for their homes without a lawyer, it is clear we need to do better. No one should face losing a home on their own.”
Earlier this year, the Equal Justice Coalition released a video about the need for civil legal aid in Housing Court. It can be viewed here.
About the Equal Justice Coalition
The Equal Justice Coalition, a collaboration of the Boston Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association and the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC), works to increase the state appropriation for civil legal aid through MLAC (line item 0321-1600).