Eviction Diversion Programs
In 2013, SDRS partnered with Legal Services of South Central Michigan and Judge Darryl Mazur to pilot an Eviction Diversion Program for Jackson County that we thought would benefit the community. For 6 months, Judge Mazur created a parallel Mediation docket for his Landlord Tenant cases, where each tenant and landlord would have access to community services, mediators and create negotiated conditional dismissals to each case.
When an eviction case was filed, each tenant would receive materials regarding the mediation project, access to financial supports and a personal budget assessment. The Tenants could then voluntarily agree to move their case to the mediation docket. On their hearing day, the tenants have the ability to speak with DHHS, CAA and TTI, regarding their financial situation, rental help and/or relocation help. The tenants can also have a legal consultation through the Legal Service office as well, if requested. With the information gathered with these consultations, parties are more ready to negotiate a conditional dismissal and plan to stay in the rental or design an exit strategy with the Landlord. The conditional dismissal takes the place of a judgement of eviction on the tenants record. This dismissal does not have as negative effect on the tenant’s housing record and the dismissal still qualifies for Emergency Service (SER, DHHS) help from local agencies.