§ 375.12 Legal Representation in Housing Court
   (a)   Definitions.
      (1)   "Brief legal assistance" means individualized legal assistance provided in a single consultation by a designated organization to a covered individual in connection with a covered proceeding.
      (2)   "Covered individual" means any person who occupies a dwelling, with at least one (1) child in the City under a claim of legal right other than the owner, whose annual gross income is not in excess of one-hundred percent (100%) of the federal poverty guidelines as established and updated periodically by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (42 U.S.C. 9902(2)).
      (3)   "Covered proceeding" means any proceeding in Cleveland Municipal Court, Housing Division ("Housing Court") to evict, eject, or terminate the tenancy of a covered individual.
      (4)   "Lead partner organization" means an organization or entity that has the capacity to establish and implement a program to provide access to legal services for covered individuals in covered proceedings in Housing Court and that has entered into contract with the City for such program.
      (5)   "Designated organization" means a not-for-profit organization or an entity to be determined, that has the capacity to provide legal services per the standards set by the American Bar Association Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid (ABA standards) to income-eligible individuals facing eviction.
      (6)   "Full legal representation" means ongoing legal representation provided by any designated organization to a covered individual who is income-eligible, and all legal advice, advocacy, and assistance associated with such representation. Such representation includes, but is not limited to, the filing of a notice of appearance on behalf of the covered individual in a covered proceeding.
      (7)   "Legal services" means any legal representation provided to a covered individual, including brief legal assistance and full legal representation.
   (b)   Legal Representation in Housing Court.
      (1)   Covered individuals receive access to legal services from designated organizations under contract with the lead partner organization. The designated organizations shall provide legal services in a covered proceeding, as soon as possible after the initiation of the proceeding, and no later than at the time of the individual's first scheduled appearance in a covered proceeding. Designated organizations must seek to provide high quality, full legal representation in accordance with ABA standards, unless the individual is ineligible, there is a conflict of interest, or other circumstances make full legal representation infeasible to render.
      (2)   The access to legal services described in subdivision (1) above is contingent upon additional legislative authority authorizing and appropriating the funds for a contract between the City and the lead partner organization and is subject to any terms and conditions contained in such agreement.
      (3)   Provision of legal services for covered individuals from designated organizations in a covered proceeding shall be administered by the lead partner organization.
      (4)   Designated organizations shall work with the lead partner organization and community partners to engage and educate tenants of their rights and available resources.
      (5)   Designated organizations shall be contractually obligated by the lead partner organization to meet and report on pre-determined performance metrics, report those metrics to the lead partner organization on a quarterly basis, and adhere to quality assurance standards set by the lead partner organization based upon ABA standards; all components must be satisfied in order to receive an on-going contract to provide legal representation in Housing Court under this section.
      (6)   Any legal services performed by a designated organization under this section shall not supplant, replace, or satisfy any obligations or responsibilities of that designated organization under any other program agreement or contract.
      (7)   On January 31 of each year, beginning in 2021, the lead partner organization shall submit a written report to the Council, detailing the number of covered individuals served, the extent of legal services performed, metrics evaluating outcomes, projected budgeting needs for full representation to all covered individuals, and a summary of the engagement and education of tenants.
   (c)   Nothing in this section, or the administration or application of this section, shall be construed to create a private right of action on the part of any person or entity against the City or any agency, official, or employee of the City.
(Ord. No. 1001-2019. Passed 9-30-19, eff. 6-30-20)