Campbell Law initiative could help Raleigh renters facing eviction

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There may be a new lifeline for people in Raleigh who may be on the verge of getting evicted from their homes.

The help comes as a recent study by the US Census Bureau shows an estimated 400,000 people in North Carolina have no confidence they can pay next month's rent.

One Raleigh city council member said Tuesday that there are 3,200 people in the Capital City waiting for housing assistance of some kind. And without that, they could be evicted from their homes.

On Tuesday, the city council discussed an initiative from Campbell Law School, which was approved by the council.

It means three years of funding at $100,000 per year to grow Campbell's efforts in housing defense.

It will be called the City of Raleigh Housing Justice Project, so if renters are faced with eviction, they would have legal representation.

This would be an expansion of the enormous effort at the Blanchard Community Law Clinic, but right now, it is more focused on getting convictions off people's records as well as restoring their driver's licenses.

"It's a massive problem, and we're a small part of the solution," Rich Leonard, the dean of the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell Law School, told the city council. "At the end of the day, we're an academic institution, and so I'm not a legal aid office. I have to find a balance between providing needy services within our city and region and also providing pedagogically appropriate opportunities for the next generation of lawyers who are going to grace our state."

Also of note at Tuesday's council meeting was a push to get larger pay raises for police and fire department employees to try to fill some of those vacant positions.
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