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 36,000 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 October: We spoke to more than 1,500 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!
A POWERFUL MONTH OF ACTIONS
This October, we held two IMPORTANT ACTIONS at housing court in the Bronx and Manhattan.
On October 2nd, we rallied to demand that the courts uphold and defend RTC and organized a MASS court watch in Bronx Housing Court. Member groups from across the city joined in speaking to HUNDREDS of tenants about RTC and how to join our struggle!
On October 11th, we held a powerful disruption of a panel celebrating the 50th anniversary of NYC Housing Court that was put on by a commission tasked with addressing racism in the courts. We chanted our demands, reminded judges in power that evictions are racial violence, and urged Chief Judge Rowan Wilson to use his power to ensure that the courts uphold RTC. We demanded that he issue an administrative order to pause cases until eligible tenants have Right to Counsel!
“I am in housing court once a month with Goddard Riverside housing lawyers. This gives me an opportunity to have deep discussions with tenants who are having issues with their landlord. Also, letting tenants know they are not alone in this process. There is a major support group who are fighting to keep their homes and are vocal with their demands!”
-Yvonne Viruet, Tenant Organizer with Goddard Riverside Law Project
This month, we’ve already started out strong with a successful phone banking action! Tenants made almost 100 calls to Judge Wilson, urging him to issue an administrative order to pause cases until eligible tenants have RTC.
We shouldn’t have to do Court Watch. Chief Judge Rowan Wilson could issue an administrative order to pause cases for eligible tenants until they get RTC. The state legislature could pass legislation to force the courts to uphold the law. Join us to take action to push for our demands!
1. 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!
2. CALL YOUR NYC COUNCIL MEMBERS and urge them to sign on to resolutions in support of two important pieces of legislation to expand and strengthen RTC for all NY tenants:
- Resolution 499: Calls on the New York State legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, A4993 / S3254, which requires the courts to adjourn cases until eligible tenants have Right to Counsel.
- Resolution 345: Calls on the New York State legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, A1493 / S2721 so that ALL New York tenants have Right to Counsel.
3. 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]
When we fight, we win!