DC courts receive private grant to strengthen eviction diversion programs

D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton speaks to audience members about the importance of this Wells Fargo grant to D.C.'s Superior Court and Eviction Diversion program.
D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton speaks to audience members about the importance of this Wells Fargo grant to D.C.’s Superior Court and Eviction Diversion program.

D.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby speaking at the conference.
D.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby speaking at the conference.

The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) announces a $10 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation alongside DC Court and National Center for State Courts representatives.
The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) announces a $10 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation alongside DC Court and National Center for State Courts representatives.

The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) announces a $10 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation alongside DC Court and National Center for State Courts representatives.
The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) announces a $10 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation alongside DC Court and National Center for State Courts representatives.

D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton speaks to audience members about the importance of this Wells Fargo grant to D.C.'s Superior Court and Eviction Diversion program.
D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton speaks to audience members about the importance of this Wells Fargo grant to D.C.’s Superior Court and Eviction Diversion program.

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D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton speaks to audience members about the importance of this Wells Fargo grant to D.C.'s Superior Court and Eviction Diversion program.
D.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby speaking at the conference.
The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) announces a $10 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation alongside DC Court and National Center for State Courts representatives.
The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) announces a $10 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation alongside DC Court and National Center for State Courts representatives.
D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton speaks to audience members about the importance of this Wells Fargo grant to D.C.'s Superior Court and Eviction Diversion program.

Courts in the District have been awarded just over $600,000 to expand programs that help keep tenants in their homes.

The money is part of a $10 million gift from the Wells Fargo Foundation to improve housing stability across the country. Courts in 8 other states have received grants, including New York and Tennessee.



Each court will use the money to hire dedicated staff to provide early intervention and guidance in the legal process for tenants and landlords with the goal of avoiding costly trials, finding mutually acceptable solutions for both sides and resolving eviction problems.

“With eviction moratoriums ending, there’s an urgency to find more ways to keep people in their home,” said Bill Daley, vice chairman of public affairs at Wells Fargo. “With this kind of collaboration, we believe communities like Washington D.C., will lead the way in transforming the eviction process and achieve better outcomes for people’s lives and livelihoods.”

At the announcement of the grant Wednesday at the Historic D.C. Courthouse, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said “Eviction diversion isn’t just a tool to combat poverty, but also to advance racial justice.”

Nationally, evictions disproportionately affect communities of color. According to the Aspen Institute, about 80% of people facing evictions come from those communities, particularly Black and Latino tenants. One study found that Black renters are twice as likely as white renters to be evicted.

A pandemic-related federal freeze against evictions ended in August of last year; an attempt to extend it was struck down by the Supreme Court.

Earlier this year, the D.C. Council passed a ban against evictions of tenants who owed less than $600 in unpaid rent.

The grant program is being overseen by the National Center for State Courts Eviction Diversion Initiative, which will provide technical support to local courts.

Shayna Estulin

Shayna Estulin is an anchor/reporter for WTOP. She started her career in New York City as a local TV reporter and has since covered foreign affairs and national politics as a Washington correspondent. She also anchored a nightly news show for an international network.

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