Every day, hundreds of tenants across New York City are being denied Right to Counsel. Since the lifting of the eviction moratorium in January 2022, more than 44,000 households facing eviction have been forced to represent themselves in housing court, even though the vast majority of them have the right to an attorney under NYC law. This is outrageous! This is why we are doing COURT WATCH!
In 2023: We spoke to more than 8,000 tenants through Court Watch. Most tenants we spoke to did not know that they had a right to an attorney and that they were being denied their rights! We do Court Watch to continue to put pressure on the courts to uphold every New Yorker’s Right to Counsel.
We had an incredibly powerful year of Court Watch thanks to the leadership of our member organizations and tenant leaders! Due to their hard work, in 2023, we spoke to thousands of tenants about their Right to Counsel and how to fight to uphold it! We launched Court Watch last year in response to the crisis in housing courts across NYC. Once the pandemic-related eviction moratorium expired and the courts re-opened, advocates and organizers saw that tenants facing eviction in housing court were not getting the RTC they are entitled to and many did not know that they were being denied their rights. And we couldn't sit idly by and let that happen! Many of the tenants we’ve met through our Court Watch outreach have joined the fight to defend and strengthen RTC!
RTC member organizations leading Court Watch include: Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA), North West Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC), Goddard Riverside Law Project, Met Council on Housing, Flatbush Tenant Coalition (FTC), HOPE, Catholic Migration Services, Woodside on the Move, and Chhaya CDC.
JOIN THEM! Sign up to get connected with one of your local housing groups to do Court Watch in your borough’s housing court. Tell your neighbors about their Right to Counsel and how to organize to protect and expand their rights.
Court Solidarity Actions
This year, RTC member organizations held several actions in housing courts across the city to make our demands loud and clear and put pressure to the courts. We’ve held court solidarity actions, sung in the court’s hallways, and held a mass Court Watch action and rally! Through solidarity actions, tenants were supported in their court cases and many were able to ask for and receive adjournments. Through our court actions, we made our presence known and urged the courts to uphold RTC. We will be doing more in 2024! Please reach out to get involved.
CALL CHIEF JUDGE WILSON TODAY to demand that he issue an administrative order pausing cases until eligible tenants have Right to Counsel. As Chief Judge of New York State's highest court, the Court of Appeals, Judge Wilson has the power to address this crisis today. We can't allow one more tenant to be denied their rights in housing court. Judge Wilson must act NOW!
SIGN UP FOR COURT WATCH to talk to tenants in housing court and let them know they have rights, that they can demand an adjournment, and share how they can get involved in the work to DEFEND Right to Counsel and stop evictions.
Reach out to Brianna with the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition for more information or questions at (646) 727-0597 or email us at [email protected].