Sept. 1, 2021 - Through clinical programming, the University of Houston Law Center has pledged to assist in efforts in the impending eviction crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This follows a statement from U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Aug. 30 that encouraged “the entire legal community to take immediate action to help prevent unnecessary evictions during this public health emergency.”
Dean Leonard M. Baynes, alongside the deans of more than 40 law schools from across the nation released the following statement in support of the Attorney General’s call to the legal community:
“We, the deans of law schools across the United States, agree with Attorney General Garland that the legal profession is well positioned to provide support for tenants, landlords, and courts in the looming housing and eviction crisis. As law school deans responsible for training the next generation of lawyers to be stewards of an effective, equitable, and just legal system, we feel obliged to do our part. Therefore, we are working with our faculty and students to take immediate and meaningful action to combat this crisis. Drawing on resources such as our pro bono programs, clinical offerings, and the service of our larger law school communities, we will help ensure that families and individuals facing eviction have the legal representation, counseling, and assistance they need to exercise their rights, that those entitled to the support of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program are able to access it, and that eviction proceedings are conducted in a fair and just manner.”
Ryan Marquez, a Professor of Practice and Director of the Consumer Law Clinic at the Law Center, and clinical students will help tenants apply or gain access to rental assistance, volunteering with local legal providers and helping local courts implement eviction diversion programs. The initiative will be partly funded by a $300,000 grant awarded to the UH Law Foundation earlier this year by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation for clinical work on landlord and tenant issues.