Grant helps OCU law students help tenants at risk
OKLAHOMA CITY — Tenants facing possible eviction in Oklahoma County can get help from Oklahoma City University’s Law School to remain in their homes.
The law school recently received a “generous grant” from the Oklahoma Bar Foundation to create the OCU School of Law Pro-Bono Eviction Assistance Program, according to Richard Klinge, director of the program.
“Research has shown that two-thirds of people who faced eviction with legal representation were able to stay in their homes,” according to a statement from the law school. “For those lacking legal representation, that number was one-third.”
“To my knowledge,” Klinge said in a letter to Bishop Jimmy Nunn, the law school’s effort “is the first program ever to solely focus on serving tenants facing eviction.”
Klinge encouraged pastors and churches’ lay leaders to contact him with questions about the new legal service. He can be reached at 405-208-5207 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
He said some 200 families face eviction every week in Oklahoma County, and almost all are unable to afford legal help to assist them in navigating the process.
While serving 10 years as senior director for legal services with Catholic Charities in Oklahoma, Klinge said, he observed that “intervention by an attorney on behalf of our tenant clients greatly improved the probability of a positive outcome for our client.”
The law students in the program will be able to inform those facing eviction about their rights under the Oklahoma Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (ORLTA). The program has no income or citizenship requirements for eligibility.