Community Legal Aid to Host Eviction Summit

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Community Legal Aid is committed to strong collaborations within the community it serves.

Steven McGarrity, executive director of the nonprofit law firm that serves low-income individuals in central and northeastern Ohio, says such relationships are vital to dismantle the systems that perpetuate poverty and economic and racial injustice.

As such, in April 2022, more than 300 community members attended the Eviction Prevention Summit in Akron, McGarrity says. Participants identified a number of strategies to address the eviction crisis that were then released in a report for the community.

Efforts to implement the recommendations are ongoing.

“We believed it would take strategic investment at a community level to resolve the eviction crisis facing our neighbors,” says McGarrity.

After attending the event in Akron, Judge Carla Baldwin of Youngstown Municipal Court decided to bring the summit to the Mahoning Valley.

The court, in collaboration with Community Legal Aid and other community stakeholders, will host the Mahoning Valley Eviction Prevention Summit April 20 at the Eastwood Event Centre in Niles.

Rachel Nader, advocacy director for Community Legal Aid, has taken on a leadership role for coordinating this year’s event. Nader says hosting the summit is not the end goal.

“The summit is not intended to be a singular event, but the launching of a movement where community stakeholders roll up their sleeves, link arms and, in the spirit and might of collaboration, work toward resolving the underlying causes of housing instability and homelessness,” Nader says.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which had delayed the summit in Akron, brought a lot of attention to evictions.

“The pandemic brought the eviction crisis out of the shadows and made it a matter of public interest, bringing us that much closer to garnering the community support needed to create meaningful change,” McGarrity says.