LITTLETON, Colo. — It’s unusual for the Arapahoe County eviction clinic to be quiet on any day it’s open. On Friday morning, only staff were present.
Typically, there’s a waiting room full of Arapahoe County residents waiting their turn to speak with the attorney to help them fight off eviction notices. But with only one attorney and one paralegal, the clinic is having to turn people away on some days because the demand for services continues to rise.
“It’s incredibly busy,” said Megan O’ Byrne, the attorney who works with Colorado Legal Services and staffs the eviction clinic. “We can really only help about three people per attorney a day.”
The clinic opened its doors in the Arapahoe County building back in May. The county went to Colorado Legal Services asking they bring their expertise to the county after they saw the success at the Denver and Adams counties eviction clinics.
The Arapahoe County eviction clinic has seen the same success, but it has meant a swamped office.
“Unfortunately, we have to turn away people. We’re working on adding another attorney so we can help more people. But it’s been very popular and highly utilized by the tenants, the low-income tenants in Arapahoe County,” said O’ Byrne.
For those who go into the eviction clinic and seek O’ Byrne’s help, this is typically their last resort. Historically, over 90% of landlords are represented by a lawyer. But only about 5% of tenants have legal representation.
“It’s almost the majority single moms,” she said. “I would say it’s a lot of people of color, and mostly families. It’s a lot of families, moms with kids. It’s really devastating.”
The legal process can sometimes be