During the phase in of RTC, we are working hard to ensure a just implementation. To do that, we have working groups that advance our work and principles. At our monthly coalition meetings, we break out into these working groups:
COURT-BASED IMPLEMENTATION WORKING GROUP
This working group involves dozens of representatives from almost all legal services organizations providing RTC legal representation as well as tenant organizing groups, disability advocacy organizations, and homelessness advocacy groups. This Working Group is focused on ensuring the roll-out of right to counsel reflects that a new right has been created and helps create the necessary culture shift in Housing Court and the tenant community. It also works to ensure that the implementation of RTC, centers the experiences of tenants and maximizes tenant access to legal representation, including for Limited English Proficient tenants and tenants with disabilities. The Working Group stays abreast of implementation challenges and also makes recommendations to Court officials and the City about ways to improve implementation and achieve best practices.
See our most recent statement (4/05/2022) in response to the Office of Court Administration's response to undermine Right to Counsel and our letter to Judge DiFiore about the current capacity issues at legal services orgs and our solution to maintain the integrity of RTC during this time and our testimony to the Committee of General Welfare about this same issue. Our position on this is further outlined in a recent op-ed which also links to a legal memo about how this is legally possible.
TENANT-ATTORNEY PIPELINE WORKING GROUP
It is made up of various legal services attorneys and tenant leaders from across the city. There are about a dozen members of the working group representing several of the metropolitan area law schools as well as a number of the legal services provider organizations. The focus of the pipeline working group is on building a cohort of highly qualified and effective advocates and supervisors to implement the right to counsel. To do this, we have been focusing on promoting greater attention to housing rights advocacy in law school instruction, including promoting more clinical and doctrinal offerings, and changing attitudes in law schools so that becoming a housing rights advocate is seen as an exciting, transformative and desirable career choice. We have also been focusing on the need for excellent supervision so that the provider organizations have the capacity to hire new attorneys for the work.
TENANT ORGANIZING WORKING GROUP
There are about 35 members of the working group that include tenant leaders and tenant organizers from across the city, who work in the RTC zips. This working group supports and coordinates the work of community based organizing groups to increase tenant education and awareness, develop leaders, evaluate implementation and combat landlord harassment. We strategically coordinate outreach and organizing in the RTC zips across the city by targeting distressed buildings for outreach, organizing tenants' associations, conducting know your rights workshops, conducting town halls and more! We also run direct action campaigns against the worst evictors, held a people's tribunal on evictions, are advancing a campaign to make NYC eviction free, and coordinate a direct action eviction defense network!