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Conn. hopes to get legal help for tenants in danger of eviction

Help is on the way for income-eligible tenants in Connecticut who are in danger of being evicted or losing subsidized housing.

The first phase of a program that connects low-income tenants to legal representation launches on Jan. 31. It’s called the Right to Counsel, and it was established by the state legislature last year.

“We prioritized first looking at where are high numbers of filings and high eviction rates and then, married that with where do we currently have attorneys and where can we add attorneys,” said Natalie Wagner, the executive director of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, an organization that’s administering the program on behalf of the Connecticut Department of Housing. She spoke Friday at a monthly meeting of counsel’s advisory committee.

The program can help people in only 14 Connecticut ZIP codes for now.

“Even though it feels like it’s only a handful of ZIP codes across the state, it actually covers quite a large percentage – for the first phase – of where filings occur, where there are high eviction rates and where a lot of renters live,” Wagner said.

Eligible Connecticut residents share a household income below 80% of the state median income adjusted for family size.

Those in need can call 1-800-559-1565 or visit www.evictionhelpct.org for more information.

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