Significant Economic and Fiscal Benefits

Significant Economic and Fiscal Benefits

Cleveland’s Right to Counsel creates significant economic and fiscal benefits.

Stout estimated that Cleveland or Cuyahoga County realized economic benefits of between $11.8 million and $14 million between July 1, 2020 and December 31, 2022 as a result of Right to Counsel. Over the same period, the total investment in Right to Counsel was $4.5 million, resulting in an estimated return on investment between $2.62 and $3.11, based on the City’s total investment of $500,000 (the balance was funded by philanthropic dollars). The estimated benefits were related to:

  • Economic value preserved by retaining residency in Cleveland or Cuyahoga County – $4.3 million to $5.1 million
  • Cost savings related to housing social safety net responses – $2.9 million to $3.5 million
  • Sustained education funding for children in CMSD schools – $2.4 million to $2.9 million
  • Out-of-home foster care placements – $1.7 million to $2 million
  • Cost savings related to Medicaid spending on health care – $400,000 to $500,000.

Stout’s preliminary estimate of fiscal impact is likely significantly understated. Included in the calculation are benefits of Right to Counsel that can be quantified based on currently available data. However, Cleveland or Cuyahoga County (as well as Ohio) would likely realize additional benefits that are not currently quantifiable based on available data. These benefits that are not currently quantifiable include but are not limited to:

  • The education costs, juvenile justice costs, and child welfare costs associated with children experiencing homelessness
  • The effects of stabilized employment and income and the economic and tax benefits to the state associated with consumer spending
  • The negative impact of eviction on tenants’ credit score, ability to re-rent, and the potential loss of a subsidized housing voucher
  • The cost of providing public benefits when jobs are lost due to eviction or the eviction process
  • The cost of mental health care
  • Certain additional costs associated with homelessness, such as additional law enforcement and incarceration costs
  • The cost of family, community, and neighborhood instability
  • Preservation of financial and personal assets
  • A reduction, over time, of the number of eviction cases filed resulting in improved use of Cleveland Municipal Court resources

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