In-person eviction hearings have resumed in Detroit, hurting low-income residents

Tonya Myers Phillips of the Detroit Right to Counsel Coalition says requiring in-person hearings comes at the expense of vulnerable people.

Stock photo of eviction notice posted on a door.

Starting on Monday, the 36th District Court resumed in-person hearings for Detroiters facing evictions. The court had been holding virtual proceedings after pandemic restrictions. It says requiring tenants and landlords to appear in court will allow paperwork to be processed more efficiently.

Tonya Myers Phillips is the project leader for the Detroit Right to Counsel Coalition. The group helped advocate for a city ordinance that provides free attorneys to low-income residents facing eviction. She spoke with WDET about how requiring in-person hearings hurts vulnerable people. 

“You have to make a conscious decision whether you’re going to choose to physically appear in court, and you can be there for hours or an entire day, and miss your work. That could be money that goes toward resolving the case.” — Tonya Myers Phillips

Listen: The project leader for the Detroit Right to Counsel Coalition, Tonya Meyers Phillips, discusses why she opposes in-person hearings.

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