City names Executive Director and Project Manager to lead Office of Eviction Defense
The City of Detroit has taken another major step towards the establishment of the Office of Eviction Defense in compliance with the Right to Counsel ordinance passed by Detroit City Council. Corporation Counsel Conrad Mallett announced today that April Faith-Slaker will lead the Office of Eviction Defense as its Executive Director and Dylon Adrine will serve as Program Manager. Together, they will lead the team working to provide legal defense for Detroiters facing eviction.
Faith-Slaker has spent her entire career fighting for justice in the legal system, with a data-driven approach. She most recently served as the Associate Director of the Access to Justice Lab at Harvard Law School, work on rigorous research studies addressing access to equal access to justice in civil and criminal. A member of the Advisory Board for The Justice Index at the National Center for Access to Justice, Faith-Slaker earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Chicago and Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She also holds a Master of Arts in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University.
Adrine will be working with the city’s vendor – the United Community Housing Coalition – and its subcontractors to ensure Detroiters facing eviction have the best legal defense. Adrine is a proven leader with strong organization and management skills. Prior to accepting this role at the Office of Eviction Defense, Adrine served as a process improvement consultant on Mayor Duggan’s Lean Six Sigma team, working to improve efficiency across several city departments. Adrine earned his Bachelor of Science in Health Service Administration and Master of Business Administration from the University of Detroit Mercy.
The City recently selected the United Community Housing Coalition (UCHC) as the vendor working to manage this process. The details of the contract with UCHC are being finalized now and will be in front of City Council for approval upon their return from holiday recess. Once their contract is approved, UCHC will subcontract with several other organizations to ensure as much legal capacity as possible.
“We are building a very strong team dedicated to making sure Detroiters facing eviction have legal representation and Detroiters are fortunate to have April and Dylon leading this effort,” said Mallett. “They fully appreciate the urgency of this issue and once the contract with UCHC is approved in early January, their work will begin in earnest.”
Once fully operational, the Office of Eviction Defense will provide legal counsel and representation to anyone earning up to twice the federal poverty level. The new office will be funded for the next three years with $6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds committed by the Duggan administration. Separately, the Gilbert Family Foundation has pledged $12 million over the next three years to provide eviction legal defense for 6,000 low-income Detroit families with children.
Since the start of the pandemic, the City and its partners have directed more than $300 million toward eviction prevention and defense, providing rental assistance to nearly 30,000 households and legal representation to more than 15,000 Detroit renters. Today, renters facing eviction have access to legal counsel or representation by showing up for their court hearing with a copy of their Notice to Quit.
The 36th District Court sees an average of 30,000 eviction cases annually and a University of Michigan's Poverty Solutions study found that tenants are nearly 90% more successful in winning their cases when they have an attorney provided to them.
Creation of the new office of Eviction Defense is a requirement under the Right to Counsel ordinance spearheaded by Council President Mary Sheffield, which was approved in May.