City of Boulder Measure 2B would provide families with one critical tool to stay housed

Written by: Sarah Barnes
Date Posted: September 18, 2020

Boulder voters will have an opportunity in November to support a measure to provide legal representation to any renter who experiences eviction in the City of Boulder. Measure 2B – No Eviction without Representation – would ensure universal free legal counsel and rental assistance to tenants who experience eviction in the city of Boulder, regardless of age, income or immigration status. Legal representation in an eviction proceeding is one important tool to increase the likelihood that children and families can stay housed. The measure would establish a fund through an excise tax for landlords and a committee of five renters to help determine how the funds will be allocated.   

Join the No Eviction without Representation (NEWR) campaign on October 7 at 6:30pm for a virtual event and fundraiser for the campaign! Learn more about the eviction crisis and the NEWR campaign, hear from elected officials and from local experts on tenant laws, and watch the video premiere of the NEWR “Eviction Stories” series.  

Join the event on October 7 here:  

In Colorado and across the country, millions of families are at risk of being evicted right now, due to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a national moratorium on evictions until the end of December. This moratorium will apply to renters who meet the requirements and take the necessary steps to qualify. An eviction moratorium is an important part of the solution to the crisis caused by the pandemic, but the moratorium alone will delay but not prevent evictions, unless coupled with other protections for renters. 

Even prior to the pandemic, families with children were more likely to face eviction than other groups. A study found that among families facing eviction who appear in court, those families with children disproportionately receive eviction judgments.  

Eviction, and the residential mobility and instability it causes, has negative impacts on children’s health and academic outcomes, and on their mental health and social-emotional development. Families who are evicted are more likely to experience homelessness or be forced to move into poor-quality housing, both of which place children’s safety, well-being, and healthy development in jeopardy.  

Mothers who were evicted in the previous year have higher rates of maternal depression, which affects their children’s healthy development and also affects mothers’ ability to work and provide for their children. Pregnant people who experience homelessness are much more likely to have pregnancy complications, and prenatal homelessness is associated with pre-term delivery and low-birthweight infants.   

Access to an attorney in an eviction proceeding helps families stay housed. One study found that two-thirds of tenants who were represented by an attorney were able to stay in their homes, compared with only one-third of tenants who were not represented in court. However, another study found that in Denver between 2014 and 2016, 100 percent of landlords were represented by an attorney in eviction proceedings, while only about two percent of tenants were represented in those same proceedings.  

In 2019, the Children’s Campaign and other organizations in the Health Equity Advocacy Cohort funded by the Colorado Trust partnered with the Colorado Health Institute to release a report, Home Equity, which outlined 11 policy recommendations to support housing security in Colorado. The report recommends creating a “right to counsel” policy at the state level in Colorado for tenants in eviction proceedings, a policy identified as one that would particularly benefit families with children. Establishing right to counsel policies in eviction proceedings at the local level can help set a precedent to support the establishment of a right to counsel policy at the state level.   

Sarah Barnes

About Sarah Barnes

Sarah serves as the Manager of Special Policy Initiatives for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. In this role, she works across the organization and with external stakeholders to develop and oversee the implementation of the Campaign’s engagement on strategic policy priorities Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign, Sarah taught middle school English and worked as an Interventionist at Pioneer Charter School in Denver. She was a 2011 Teach For America corps member. Sarah earned a BA in English from Midland University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan.