Last night over fifty tenants from across NYC gathered in Grand Central Station with a message for commuters like Acting Chief Judge Cannataro: the holidays should be a time of joy but for the thousands of families facing eviction alone, they are a time of increased anxiety.
Every day, Acting Chief Judge Cannataro moves hundreds of eviction cases forward in NYC without tenants’ having Right to Counsel and then commutes home to Westchester. RTC has proven incredibly successful with the vast majority of tenants staying in their homes. Denying tenants Right to Counsel means thousands of tenants are being sued who shouldn’t have been, thousands are signing agreements against their own interests and thousands are being evicted who otherwise wouldn’t have been. The vast majority of tenants who are being denied RTC and who are being evicted are Black and brown. Since January 15th, more than 18,000 tenants are facing eviction alone.
Judge Cannataro could fix this today. He could issue an order that pauses all RTC-eligible cases that don’t have RTC attorneys until the RTC legal services organizations have capacity. We’ve emailed him, sent him letters, asked for meetings, and he’s refused to meet with us. Instead he keeps moving cases forward, prioritizing landlords' right to move cases quickly over tenants' right to have an attorney. So last night we brought the holiday spirit to his commute and to thousands of New Yorkers.
Tenants edited well loved Christmas carols to get our message across, like “Slow down the courts, and give us time, To keep our homes come winter-time, O Cannataro, O Cannataro, Let us stay in our homes” and “We’re in a housing crisis, It's time to take a stand, Cannataro can stop evictions, The power’s in his hands.”
Tenants urged NY commuters to call Governor Hochul and make sure she knows she must choose a Chief Judge who will fix the crisis in NYC’s Housing Court and uphold RTC!
Ernestina Vazquez, a member of Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA) talked about why this is so important: “I’m a single mother of three kids and they want to evict me because I owe rent. I’m in court. CASA is helping me so much and this is why we need to fight.”
Check out videos of the action here, here and here.
TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT TENANTS RIGHTS AND STOP EVICTIONS!
Judge Cannataro, the NYS Court System and the Governor need to know you care about evictions!
- Call Governor Hochul’s Office at 518-474-8390 (press 3 to get the option where you can speak to someone or leave a message) and let her know that she must choose a Chief Judge who will fix the crisis in NYC’s Housing Court and uphold RTC!
- Call the Office of Court Administration, where Cannataro works, at (212) 428-2700 (press 6 to speak to someone) and tell them Cannataro needs to uphold RTC and stop evictions!
To learn more about why Right to Counsel is under attack, read our full FAQ on DEFEND RTC.