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Release Date: September 21,2023
The Akron Municipal Court Receives Substantial Grant to Start Housing Program, Hire Staff
Akron, Ohio, September 21, 2023 – The Akron Municipal Court has received a large grant from the National Center for State Courts’ Eviction Diversion Initiative in the amount of $240,000 to start a housing program and hire two full-time staff positions: one Housing Program Specialist/Facilitator and one Court Navigator/Bailiff.
Ten courts nationwide were awarded more than two million dollars. The Akron Municipal Court is the only court in Ohio to receive these funds.
The National Center for State Courts created a grant funding opportunity in response to the nationwide eviction crisis. Applicants were asked to demonstrate ways to strengthen eviction diversion efforts and improve housing stability.
“We are pleased to expand our eviction diversion efforts to such a diverse group,” said Laurie Givens, NCSC Vice President for Court Consulting Services. “As we continue to see a marked increase in evictions following the pandemic, it becomes even more critically important that courts find ways to proactively connect landlords and tenants with the information and resources necessary to resolve their housing problems in the least harmful way. Eviction diversion programs help courts become points of connection for people in crisis, rather than places of last resort.”
Akron Municipal Court Judges Ron Cable and Nicole Walker will lead efforts on this project which will promote workable solutions between landlords and tenants.
“We have had the desire to start a housing program for several years,” said Judge Ron Cable and Nicole Walker in a joint statement. “This project will pair well with other initiatives we have at the Court. We are incredibly grateful to the National Center for State Courts for investing in our jurisdiction.”
In 2021, Akron Municipal Court was chosen by the Supreme Court of Ohio as one of the courts to pilot an Online Dispute Resolution program (ODR) that includes the opportunity for landlords and tenants to engage in dispute resolution and mediation prior to the eviction hearing. The program officially launched in September 2021 and all Eviction and Small Claims cases are required to register for ODR unless exempted by the Akron Municipal Court.
The Court is in the process of hiring individuals for these grant funded positions. A formal kick-off meeting took place earlier this week.