New Housing Clinic at Ramsey County District Court

July 27, 2018

On July 19, more than thirty prospective volunteer attorneys attended a presentation by SMRLS staff attorneys Laura Jelinek and Kristin Holmes and volunteer attorney Larry McDonough covering common issues that our clients face in eviction cases. This training was in preparation for a new housing clinic at the Ramsey County Courthouse in downtown St. Paul. 

There is an acute need for a clinic like this. In 2017, approximately 3,000 evictions were filed in Ramsey County, the majority for non-payment of rent. Astonishingly, 90% of the tenants in these cases were not represented by an attorney. 

Rental vacancies in the Twin Cities are now at a historic low and the average rent is reaching a historic high. Eviction records significantly hamper a tenant’s chances of finding future housing, creating a cycle of homelessness for many low-income people. This dangerous equation is leaving of our community’s most vulnerable members at risk of homelessness.

The new Ramsey County Housing Clinic launched on July 24 and runs every Tuesday and Thursday morning during the Housing Court first appearance calendar. Clients have the opportunity to receive free legal advice from a volunteer attorney before heading into the courtroom. They can also apply for Emergency Assistance and work with a mediator from the Dispute Resolution Center to reach a settlement in their case. 

SMRLS needs volunteer attorneys to help us staff the clinic. We are looking for volunteers to come in once or twice a month, or more. You do not need to have experience with landlord/tenant law. SMLRS will provide all the training and support needed to help you meet with and advise clients. This is a great opportunity to practice your interviewing and issue spotting skills, and learn a new area of law. The clinic clients really appreciate the service. 

 Click here to view volunteer training resources and videos.

To learn more about his opportunity, please contact Carol Bros at 651-894-6912 or or Andrea Palumbo at 651-894-6934 or

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