Advancing Racial and Health Justice Through a Right to Counsel for Tenants: A Primer for the Public Health Field

March 2024

This primer reviews what right to counsel laws are, how they advance racial and health justice, and ways public health practitioners can support right to counsel efforts.

A safe and stable home is the foundation for a healthy life, yet this cornerstone of good health remains out of reach for many. New local and state laws that guarantee a right to counsel for tenants facing eviction (“RTC” or “right to counsel”) offer a promising opportunity to address this challenge and related racial and health disparities.

This primer starts by reviewing what right to counsel laws are and how they can advance racial and health justice. In short, establishing a right to counsel can help more households remain stably housed — particularly low-income households and those disproportionately impacted by historical and ongoing discriminatory policies and practices.

It follows with steps public health practitioners can take to enhance the potential of right to counsel efforts to advance racial and health justice, including:

  • Support policy development
  • Make the public health case for right to counsel as a health issue
  • Support community leadership
  • Establish cross-sector partnerships to address challenges related to housing stability, housing quality, and health
  • Strengthen community outreach and referral networks
  • Train stakeholders on the connections between housing, health, and equity

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To learn more, contact Will Dominie at


This resource was developed by ChangeLab Solutions, Human Impact Partners, the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, PolicyLink, and Results for America,  in partnership with the American Public Health Association and the de Beaumont Foundation as part of the Healing Through Policy initiative.