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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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Trump running mate Vance to deliver 'the most important speech' of his career at Republican convention tonight; Alabama group receives grant to boost FAFSA submissions; Bilingual, multicultural staff needed for NJ addiction treatment; Toledo plant to manufacture EVs with federal funding.

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The Republican National Convention connects crime to migration. Kari Lake and delegates from Texas, Florida, and California talk about border issues. Desantis pokes fun at President Biden and Nikki Haley gives the night's big speech.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

'Death by a thousand cuts' for Bozeman's low-income renters

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Monday, June 24, 2024   

A group formed to fight for the rights of Bozeman's lower-income renters is pushing for mandatory legal assistance for people facing eviction. Opponents say it's unfair to landlords.

Bozeman Tenants United calls itself a multiracial, intergovernmental movement to win safe, dignified and affordable housing for working-class renters.

Benjamin Finegan, director of the group, said rising rents and less availability are proving to be "death by a thousand cuts" for renters, who he pointed out are forced to spend as much as half of their income on housing, if they can afford it at all. He called evictions "acts of violence," and claimed they are at the heart of Bozeman's housing crisis.

"Where an eviction, in a lot of ways, is a death sentence," Finegan argued. "It means that you are out on the street with nowhere to go, possibly with kids. It means that you have a red stamp on your rental record, and it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find new housing."

Finegan is working to get financial support from Bozeman to pay for legal representation for low-income households facing eviction. The state landlord's association is among the groups pushing back on the idea, saying rent prices are simply driven by market conditions and supply and demand.

Finegan noted Bozeman would join more than a dozen other towns and cities around the country that have instituted some form of legal assistance for people facing eviction. In Bozeman, Finegan said at least two-thirds of residents are low-income renters and as the number continues to grow, his group will push for the funding to pay for legal help.

"Fighting for approximately $670,000 per year in order to actually fund enough attorneys to give people full legal representation through eviction court filings, as well as illegal, dangerous living conditions," Finegan outlined.

Finegan added mandatory, city-funded legal representation for low-income people has sharply reduced the eviction rate in other places across the country that have adopted it, including a dramatic drop in evictions in Kansas City.


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