The Right to Counsel NYC Coalition began in June of 2014. We began as a coalition of advocates, tenants, academics and legal services providers in support of right to counsel for low-income tenants who face eviction in New York City. Intro 214, a bill that was introduced by City Council Members Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson in March of 2014, would provide attorneys for tenants and homeowners at 125% of the poverty line who are facing eviction and foreclosure proceedings. The bill, now Intro 214-A was later amended to cover tenants at 200% of the poverty line or below. Many of us have been working on issues of affordable housing, tenant power and housing court reform for decades. As we rallied to support this important and critical bill, we recognized the need to form a new coalition, independent of the legislature, that would build a citywide movement not for increased funding for representation, but for NYC to be the first city in the nation to establish a RIGHT to counsel for tenants in housing court. We formed a coalition rooted in principles of equity, humanity, diversity and justice. We are also working to develop and champion a new legal services model that can be implemented when a comprehensive bill passes. We are working towards a bill that will be fully funded and that will do justice to those facing eviction in housing court so that tenants have qualified, dedicated and experienced housing attorneys who can devote the time they need to their cases.
As a Coalition, our main goal is to make sure that people stay in their homes and communities with dignity and respect and for housing court to be a place where justice is applied equitably. We believe that Right to Counsel for tenants is a key piece in making that goal a reality.
See here for more on the history of the coalition.
Coalition Members Include: New Settlement's Community Action for Safe Apartments, Housing Court Answers, NYC Central Labor Council, The Community Development Project at The Urban Justice Center, LiveOn NY, Coalition for the Homeless, IMPAACT Brooklyn, New York Legal Assistance Group, Legal Services-NYC, The Legal Aid Society, MFY Legal Services, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, Goddard Riverside Law Project, Housing Conservation Coordinators, West Side Neighborhood Alliance, South Brooklyn Legal Services, Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, Brooklyn Defender Services, DC 37, Cooper Square Committee, CAMBA Legal Services, University Settlement, South Side United HDFC--Los Sures, Bronx Defenders, Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing, Banana Kelly CIA, Catholic Migration Services, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, AARP.
Supporters Include: Impact Center for Public Interest Law at New York Law School, Fifth Avenue Committee, Community Service Society, Met Council on Housing, MinKwon Center for Community Action, Tenants & Neighbors, CAAAV, Brooklyn Tenants United, National Center for Access to Justice, VOCAL-NY, National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, Touro Law Center, Human Rights Institute at the Columbia Law School, Chhaya CDC, The Bronx Jewish Community Council, Flatbush Tenant Coalition, Homeless Services United, Inc., Hudson Guild, UAW Local 2325 - Assoc. of Legal Aid Attorneys (AFL-CIO), New York Immigration Coalition, Ebbets Field Tenants Organization, Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York, The Borough Board of Manhattan, The Borough Board of Brooklyn, The Borough Board of the Bronx, The NYC City Bar Association, Association of Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD), Housing Works, The West Side Commons, City Meals on Wheels, JASA/Legal Services for the Elderly in Queens, Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC), the Coalition for Housing and Health, Legal Services Staff Association, UAW/NOLSW 2320.
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