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The City and County and San Francisco hereby declares itself the first "Right to Civil Counsel City" in the United States. This title is intended to represent the City and County's firm commitment to creating a local judicial system that provides representation to all residents involved in civil proceedings that could deny them basic human needs, such as child custody, shelter, sustenance, safety or health, regardless of their income or ability to pay.
The City and County of San Francisco declares its intent to work with the Courts, the Bar Association of San Francisco, and interested persons to progress steadily toward the goal of providing counsel whenever the court, in its discretion, believes that such counsel would assist in the fair administration of justice. This declaration is not intended to immediately establish a right to counsel in civil proceedings, but rather it is a codification of the beginning of a firm commitment to this eventual goal.
Within six months of the effective date of this ordinance, the Board of Supervisors shall consider recommendations regarding the creation of a San Francisco Right to Civil Counsel Pilot Program ("Pilot Program") to be administered by the City and to take place for one year in FY 2012-2013.
It shall be City policy that in FY 2012-2013, the City's fiscal commitment to the Pilot Program shall be limited to the cost of a single staff person for supporting program coordination among the City, the Superior Court, non-profit organizations and others involved in the Pilot Program. The legal services provided pursuant to the Pilot Program will be provided by pro bono and legal services attorneys. Prior to the commencement of the Pilot Program, a work plan and a process for independent evaluation of the Pilot Program shall be developed, and all parties involved in the Pilot Program will be required to participate in its evaluation. The evaluation described in this section shall be submitted to the Board of Supervisors within four months of completion of the Pilot Program. The evaluation will include (a) analysis of relevant data collected regarding impact of Pilot Program on demand for services (b) consider the effectiveness and continued need for the Pilot Program as it pertains to equal access to justice, and (c) strategies and recommendations for maximizing the benefit of that representation in the future. If the evaluation finds that the Pilot Program is successful, the Board of Supervisors shall consider extending, expanding, or making permanent the work of the Pilot Program.
(a) Provision of legal representation. The City and County of San Francisco shall establish, run, and fully fund a program to provide legal representation for all tenants within the City and County who are faced with legal proceedings to evict them from their residence. This legal representation shall be available to a tenant thirty days after a tenant is served with an eviction notice or upon service of an unlawful detainer complaint, whichever occurs first, and at least until such time that the eviction notice or unlawful detainer complaint is withdrawn, the case is dismissed, or a judgment in the matter is entered.
(b) Exception for landlord or master tenant who resides in same dwelling unit. The requirements of this Section shall not apply when eviction proceedings are brought by a landlord or master tenant who resides in the same dwelling unit with his or her tenant.
(c) Implementation. The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development shall promptly take all necessary steps to fully implement the provisions of this Section as soon as practicable, but not later than 12 months after the effective date of this Initiative. The City and County shall have no obligation to provide legal services under this Section where a state or federal program already provides full scope legal representation to a tenant facing eviction proceedings.
(d) For the purposes of this Section, the term “legal representation” shall mean full scope representation provided to an individual by a designated organization or attorney which includes, but is not limited to, filing responsive pleadings, appearing on behalf of the tenant in court proceedings, and providing legal advice.
(e) For the purposes of this Section, the term “eviction notice” shall mean a notice to terminate tenancy, however denominated.
(Added by Proposition F, 6/5/2018, Eff. 7/20/2018)