Every day, hundreds of tenants across NYC are being denied Right to Counsel. Since the lifting of the eviction moratorium in January 2022, more than 30,000 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!
Court Watch volunteers do regular outreach in housing courts across the city to inform tenants about Right to Counsel. Court Watchers make their presence known in housing court and connect tenants with information about local housing organizations, resources for accessing legal counsel and how to join the movement.
This July we spoke to more than 340 tenants in Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan and Queens Housing Courts. Most tenants we spoke to did not know that they had a right to attorney and they were being denied.
Through Court Watch, we make sure tenants know they have the right to an attorney AND that they have the right to ask judges to uphold the law by granting them an adjournment so that they have more time to get an attorney to represent them.
We make sure tenants know that they are not alone in their struggle - there are thousands of tenants like them fighting to Defend Right to Counsel.
This month we were joined by new volunteers in Manhattan and the Bronx!
“[Court watch was]...telling of a system that is seemingly set up to operate as a clearinghouse… It was clear to me that so many tenants had been brought to housing court due to ripple effects of the pandemic. Can't wait to do it again!”
-Hank Dombrowski, Cooper Square Steering Committee Member and new court watch volunteer
WE NEED MORE VOLUNTEERS FOR COURT WATCH so we can talk to even more tenants! Join us to meet your neighbors and build our movement to expand tenants' power and fight 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].
We do Court Watch weekly in the Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx and monthly in Queens.
CALL TO ACTION
We shouldn’t have to do Court Watch. The Chief Judge could issue an administrative order to pause all cases for 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!
Call your council members TODAY and ask 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, requiring that any tenant eligible for right to counsel be granted the necessary adjournments by the court to ensure 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.