St. Louis, Mo – May 31, 2023
As the Eviction Crisis Escalates, St. Louis Tenants Rally for the Right to Counsel
In the face of an escalating eviction crisis and dried-up rental assistance, St. Louis renters, organizers, and community members with the #WeTheTenants campaign will gather at St. Louis City Hall to call for the Right to Counsel for people facing eviction.
What: #WeTheTenants Right to Counsel Rally & Press Conference
This Friday, June 2nd, St. Louis renters, organizers, and advocates with the We the Tenants campaign will gather at a press conference and rally at St. Louis City Hall (1200 Market Street) from 9:00 am – 10:30 am to advocate for legislation that would provide legal representation to eligible people who face eviction in St. Louis.
Elected officials, advocates, and impacted renters will speak to issues they’ve witnessed and experienced in St. Louis’ housing landscape and stress the urgent need for the right to counsel.
Register here today: bit.ly/wttrally
Who: We the Tenants is a grassroots campaign co-anchored by Action St. Louis and ArchCity Defenders, working to expand rights for renters in the St. Louis area. The campaign comprises renters, organizers, and advocates building a movement to transform St. Louis from a region that enables landlords and developers to exploit residents, to a place where everyone has safe and stable housing.
When: Friday, June 2nd from 9:00AM to 10:30AM
Where: St. Louis City Hall (1200 Market Street), Front Side.
St. Louis Board of Alderman President, Megan Green
Alderwoman, Shameem Clark Hubbard
Organizing Manager, Kennard Williams (Action STL)
Impacted St. Louis Tenants
Why: In January 2023, 57 St. Louisans testified in support of Right to Counsel at the Board of Aldermen to support Board Bill 180. The bill, sponsored by former Aldermember Christine Ingrassia, would have been established but ultimately did not pass. A few months later in March 2023, eviction rates in the St. Louis region were up 46% over the pre-covid average, according to the Eviction Lab.
“Tenants in St. Louis are in desperate need of the rights that would be provided by a Right to Counsel bill,” says Kennard Williams, Organizing Manager at Action St. Louis. “This is the second time trying to get the bill through the Board of Aldermen and with each day that goes by, people are losing their homes while we wait.”
Recent data from the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel estimates that as few as 3% of tenants across the country have access to an attorney during eviction proceedings, compared to 81% of landlords.
Right to Counsel would not only provide legal representation to eligible parties, it would also require owners, agents of owners, and landlords to disclose information about Right To Counsel to their tenants in covered proceedings, which holds property managers and landlords more accountable for their actions.
Action St. Louis is a grassroots racial justice organization that seeks to build political power for Black communities in the St. Louis region. Action St. Louis builds campaigns that leverages organizing, communications, advocacy and direct action to mitigate harm against our community while fighting for long term transformation.
ArchCity Defenders is a holistic legal advocacy organization committed to combatting the criminalization of poverty and state violence, especially in communities of color. ACD’s foundation of civil and criminal legal representation, social services, impact litigation, policy and media advocacy, and community collaboration achieves and inspires justice and equitable outcomes for people throughout the St. Louis region and beyond.
Zoe Griffin, Communications Coordinator, Action St. Louis
Z Gorley, Communications Director, ArchCity Defenders