Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, June 10, 2022

General Sessions Court receives funding for Eviction Diversion Initiative


Hamilton County General Sessions Court has received a grant from the National Center for State Courts’ Eviction Diversion Initiative to strengthen eviction diversion efforts and improve housing stability locally.

Hamilton County General Sessions Court is one of 13 state and local courts selected through a competitive application process.

The initiative will include a new housing stability facilitator who will be housed at the City of Chattanooga and work with Hamilton County General Sessions judges to assist landlords and tenants before eviction cases are adjudicated in court.

“The courtroom must be a place of fairness and impartial application of the law, but it can also be a place of innovation and collaboration,” says Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Alexander McVeagh. “I’m grateful for the work the National Center for State Courts will make possible through the Eviction Diversion Initiative, as it provides a fair and legal mechanism for property owners, tenants and community partners to work together in constructive ways.”

Each court will use the grant funding to hire dedicated staff to implement sustainable and community-driven strategies for resolving legal problems, the NCSC notes in a news release.

Successful eviction diversion programs provide landlords and tenants with the time, information and resources necessary to resolve their housing problems without prolonged litigation, says Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly.

“You can’t overstate the lasting impact losing a home can have on individuals and families, especially children,” continues Kelly. “With support from the NCSC’s Eviction Diversion Initiative, we can connect local tenants and landlords with the services and guidance they need to prevent costly and traumatizing evictions – helping both the landlord and the tenant.”

Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga President Maeghan Jones says a housing crisis has been brewing since before the pandemic.

“We now have a responsibility to help families in immediate danger of losing their homes while also addressing the root causes of this problem.”

Courts will have access to ongoing peer learning opportunities, a national evaluation led by Stout Risius Ross and intensive technical assistance provided by NCSC as they implement eviction diversion and court reform strategies that leverage legal aid and mediation services, housing and financial counseling, rental assistance programs and other community resources.

States benefiting from the grant program include Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Tennessee and Wisconsin, along with the District of Columbia.


Source: National Center for State Courts