Eviction is considered one of the biggest risk factors for homelessness. It can be the first step in a downward spiral for those with few resources living in expensive cities. But in many cities, like Los Angeles, only a fraction of residents facing eviction can avail themselves of free legal help. Voters in San Francisco recently approved a ballot measure to set aside $5.6 million a year to offer legal counsel to anybody facing eviction. New York has a similar program. A group that represents landlords in San Francisco says the city shouldn’t be in the business of footing the legal bills for every eviction. But proponents say it is a relatively small cost for a potentially big social payoff.
This story is part of the California Dream reporting project.