The inaugural EDI cohort includes courts from Alaska, Nevada, Kansas, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, New York, and Washington, DC. Each court will use grant funding to hire dedicated court staff and will benefit from technical assistance and support from NCSC to transform their eviction courts into problem-solving courts that emphasize holistic, sustainable, and community-driven resolutions to housing problems.
Read more about the work of the first EDI cohort here.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who can apply for EDI funding?
Applications must be submitted by a state, local, or territorial court that has jurisdiction over eviction matters.
2. When are the applications due?
Applications and supporting materials are due by 5:00pm CST on Friday, April 21.
3. Does the application need to be limited to one court?
No, an application may be submitted on behalf of multiple local courts or an entire state. If proposing a multi-jurisdictional program, the applicant will need to demonstrate that they can maintain a high level of engagement and collect the necessary data across all the participating courts.
3. What are the grant requirements?
All participating jurisdictions will be required to:
- Hire one or more full-time facilitator(s) to support the design and implementation of the jurisdiction’s eviction diversion work and other court reform efforts (this may include screening or triaging eviction cases, checking the status of rental assistance applications, working directly with self-represented litigants to provide information and facilitate referrals to service providers, creating self-help and referral resources, implementing user-centered changes to the court process and physical space of the courthouse, cultivating partnerships with community partners, and other work necessary to further the program goals),
- Collect and share program data monthly with NCSC and Stout Risius Ross, the advisory firm leading the program evaluation;
- Prepare and submit biannual grant reports to NCSC,
- Participate in ongoing peer learning opportunities with other EDI jurisdictions and attend the annual in-person convening of EDI facilitators,
- Meet regularly with NCSC staff and other EDI partners to share program updates and receive technical assistance and support, and
- Create a sustainability plan to ensure the continuation of the work at the conclusion of the grant period.
4. What criteria will be used to review the grant applications?
Awards will be based on several criteria including a demonstrated interest in eviction diversion and court reform work, support from key stakeholders and community partners, the ability to work collaboratively, an openness to creative and innovative thinking about the future of courts, and the ability to share requested data as part of the program evaluation.
5. When will funding decisions be announced?
All applications will be reviewed by the EDI Advisory Council in the Spring, and final decisions will be made in June 2022 with jurisdictions to be notified shortly after.
6. What are the data collection requirements for the EDI evaluation?
NCSC is working in partnership with Stout Risius Ross LLC to conduct a program-wide evaluation across all participating jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction must commit to working with Stout to develop customized data elements for their jurisdiction and collecting and sharing the requested data with Stout on a monthly basis.
Courts will be asked to collect detailed data about the demographics of the litigants engaging with a diversion program as well as their circumstances, goals, referrals, and outcomes. Additional funding will be provided if necessary to support any costs associated with data collection.
The EDI data collection tools have been developed in Microsoft 365. If a participating jurisdiction does not have an existing Microsoft 365 account suitable for data collection and reporting, NCSC will provide funding to create an additional Microsoft 365 account for the EDI evaluation. EDI facilitators will also need access to a desktop version of Microsoft Excel and either OneDrive for Business or SharePoint. Please direct any additional questions about the technical requirements for the EDI evaluation to EDI@ncsc.org.
1. What is an eviction diversion program?
A court-based eviction diversion program uses the formal court process to connect landlords and tenants with the time, information, and resources necessary to resolve a housing problem in the least harmful way. Diversion programs may vary greatly to best meet the needs of the local court and community, but generally include several of the following components:
- On-site or virtual access to legal and non-legal services including legal aid, mediation, rental assistance, and financial/housing counseling;
- Tailored referrals to additional stabilizing services in the community;
- Screening and referrals for rental and financial assistance programs
- Assistance navigating the court process;
- Assistance with negotiations or reviewing settlement agreements;
- Sealing of court records when appropriate and permissible under local law;
- User-friendly court rules and procedures designed to increase access to legal and non-legal resources,
- Technology to improve access to the court system and service providers,
- Self-help resources for landlords and tenants. and
- Updated outreach and communications strategies to raise awareness of diversion program resources and to encourage participation in the court process
NCSC staff will work with each participating court to design a program that will work with their court and community. To learn more about eviction diversion program considerations and best practices, visit ncsc.org/eviction.
2. What kinds of court reforms may be necessary to support an eviction diversion program?
Procedural changes may be necessary for a diversion program to operate effectively and to reduce barriers for litigants to participate in the program. Some examples include:
- Creating an intake or case management date at the beginning of an eviction proceeding to allow the parties to learn about and access diversion resources;
- Changing how eviction cases are scheduled and calendared to allow the facilitator(s) and service provider(s) to be present during eviction proceedings and to make referrals more effectively;
- Using remote or hybrid hearings to expand access to court proceedings and diversion program services;
- Updating the court notices and other communications that are sent to litigants prior to a court proceeding;
- Using opening statements, self-help resources, and referral sheets to share information with litigants about diversion programs; and
- Updating court forms and orders to support the diversion program.
For more examples of eviction court reforms, visit ncsc.org/eviction.
3. Can funds be used for non-residential evictions (post-foreclosure, condo evictions, etc.)?
Each court will determine the scope of its diversion program and what the eligibility criteria are. A court can opt to include evictions beyond residential, non-payment case, and broader court improvements will benefit everyone. A court may also choose to focus on a particular subset of evictions (e.g. subsidized housing, families with children).
1. Will any federal funds be used to support the EDI grants?
No federal funding is used to support the EDI grants. The grant funding is made possible by a generous donation from the Wells Fargo Foundation to the National Center for State Courts.
2. What time period should the budget cover?
The proposed budget should cover a two-year period and should assume that the grant award will be reduced by 50% in the second year. The budget should include both revenue and expenses.
3. Is there a maximum grant amount that can be requested?
There is no range or cap provided as the grant amounts will vary depending on the size, goals, and program needs of the applicant court.
4. Will additional funding be available after the two-year grant period?
The grant awards will cover 100% of funding in the first year and 50% of funding in the second year of the grant period. Partial funding may be available for a third year but is not guaranteed.
5. Will technical assistance be available after the two-year grant period?
NCSC will continue to provide technical assistance and support to participating courts even after the grant period ends. Participating jurisdictions will also be asked to continue to collect and share program data through the end of 2025.
6. Will courts be expected to maintain the same level of staffing/funding after the grant expires?
Courts may plan to reduce staffing and funding levels after the grant period ends but are expected to develop a sustainability plan to ensure the program can continue to operate at the same level.
7. Is there a grant match requirement?
Courts are not required to offer a grant match, although ongoing funding may be necessary to ensure program sustainability.
1. Does the facilitator have to be a court employee?
While it’s preferred that the facilitator be a court employee, that may not be an option in all jurisdictions. The facilitator may also be employed by a local government entity or a non-profit partner. In such situations, the application should explain how the facilitator will ensure a strong, collaborative partnership with the court.
2. What is the role of the facilitators?
The exact role and job functions of each facilitator will vary based on the needs and goals of each applicant and program, as well as the other partners and court staff involved. The work may span many different areas including, but not limited to, the following:
- Building and maintaining partnerships with court stakeholders, legal and social service agencies, rental assistance programs, housing providers, and other program partners;
- Screening and triaging newly filed eviction cases;
- Developing outreach and communications strategies;
- Communicating directly with litigants before, during, and after a scheduled court proceeding;
- Identifying and implementing new court procedures and related reforms to improve the litigant experience;
- Developing new self-help and referral resources for litigants; and
- Collecting data for the EDI program evaluation.
3. How many facilitators are necessary to support the eviction diversion work?
Applicants are encouraged to think carefully about their goals for the EDI program and the level of staffing required to be successful in achieving those goals and successfully supporting the eviction diversion work given the size and structure of their court. If requesting multiple facilitators, the application should explain in detail how the facilitators will coordinate and share the proposed work. Applicants should also consider program sustainability, including how many facilitators will be necessary in the long-term to ensure the ongoing success of the program, and how those positions will be funded after the expiration of the grant.
4. Can the grant money fund direct services (e.g. legal aid attorneys, mediators)?
No, grant funds should be used for the systemic work of designing and implementing a diversion program and related court reforms. The funds should not be used for direct services provided for litigants. Courts are encouraged to work with existing service providers in the community, reducing barriers to accessing those services and integrating them into the court process through the diversion program where possible.
1. In addition to grant funding, what other support will NCSC provide?
NCSC will provide the following support to the participating courts and their facilitators:
- Monthly EDI facilitator cohort meetings with opportunities to hear from national experts and to learn from other EDI courts;
- Annual in-person convening of all EDI facilitators;
- Ongoing, in-depth technical assistance from NCSC staff (drafting rules, developing and reviewing program materials, troubleshooting issues, facilitating stakeholder meetings, sharing national best practices and examples from other jurisdictions, etc.); and
- Participation in a national evaluation to better understand the benefits and impacts of diversion programs.
2. Can states that don’t receive grants still benefit from the EDI grant program?
The Eviction Diversion Initiative’s vision is to create programs, policies, and resources that can be replicated and adapted in jurisdictions beyond the grant-funded courts. NCSC will compile and share best practices and lessons learned from the EDI jurisdictions through written materials, webinars, conferences, and reports. Visit ncsc.org/eviction for additional insights and resources on designing and implementing eviction diversion programs.
3. Who can I contact with additional questions?
Additional questions may be submitted to EDI@ncsc.org. NCSC will also host two Q&A webinars, on February 13th and March 15th to answer additional questions about the Eviction Diversion Initiative and the application process.
Watch the recording of webinar from February 13th at 2:00pm EST here. Access the slides from the first webinar here.
Watch the recording of webinar from March 15th at 1:30pm EST here. Access the slides from the second webinar here.
EDI Advisory Council
- Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, Court of Appeals, Washington DC
- Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, Supreme Court of Texas
- Stephanie Hess, Administrative Director, Supreme Court of Ohio
- Rodney Maile, Administrative Director of the Courts, Hawaii State Judiciary
- Dawn Marie Rubio, State Court Administrator, Washington State Courts
- Chief Justice Loretta Rush, Supreme Court of Indiana
- Katherine Stocks, Director and State Court Administrator, Supreme Court of Nevada
Learn about the $10 million grant NCSC has received to support the Eviction Diversion Initiative.