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. 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.
In March of 2014, City Council Members Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson introduced a bill, Intro 214 that would provide attorneys for tenants at 125% of the poverty line who are facing eviction. The bill was later amended to cover tenants at 200% of the poverty line or below.The final bill that passed on August 11, 2017, Intro 214-B, ensures at the end of 5 years, all income eligible tenants will be ensured an attorney when fighting their eviction in housing court. Tenants who are over income, have the right to a consultation with an attorney. The bill also provides for NYCHA tenants whose cases happen in administrative hearings, to have representation as well.
We are now working to ensure that RTCNYC will be implemented in a way that turns a law into a right, that builds tenant power and that transforms the nature of the housing court system. To find out more about how the law is being implemented, go to How RTC Works Now.
See here for more about how we won this historic new right for New Yorkers.
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, IMPACCT Brooklyn, Flatbush Tenant Coalition, New York Legal Assistance Group, Legal Services-NYC, The Legal Aid Society, Mobilization for Justice, Goddard Riverside Law Project, Housing Conservation Coordinators, South Brooklyn Legal Services, Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, Brooklyn Defender Services, DC 37, 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, Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC), Center for Independence of the Disabled, Community Service Society, Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC), list in formation.
Supporters Include: Impact Center for Public Interest Law at New York Law School, Fifth Avenue Committee, Met Council on Housing, MinKwon Center for Community Action, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, 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, West Side Neighborhood Alliance, The Bronx Jewish Community Council, 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), Cooper Square Committee, 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, the Coalition for Housing and Health, Legal Services Staff Association, UAW/NOLSW 2320.