Shareholder David Goldman recently completed 20 hours of a volunteer lawyer program created to assist the Rhode Island District Court in the adjudication of tenancy and eviction cases.
As set out by Chief Judge Jeanne E. LaFazia, the program’s goal is to provide tenants facing eviction with legal advice at the courthouse in negotiating payment plans, move-out dates, or other tenancy matters just prior to their District Court hearings, in what was anticipated to be a surge in cases in early September of 2020 as certain pandemic-related benefits and assistance expired. Notably, right before the implementation of this volunteer program, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), located within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced the issuance of an Order under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act to temporarily halt residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Much of Mr. Goldman’s volunteer work was informing tenants on the verge of eviction about this Order.
While many landlords have an attorney, the vast majority of residential tenants facing eviction are not represented by a lawyer, which was true even before the pandemic. Mr. Goldman’s work gave a voice to many low-income tenants who otherwise would not have received any legal advice, and enabled many of them to remain in their homes for another few months while they attempt to recover from the financial fallout of lost income due to unemployment or reduced hours related to Covid-19.
At CMBG3, our commitment to the community is not measured in words. Rather, it is measured in deeds. For more about CMBG3’s Pro Bono program, please visit us.