THE BENEFITS AND COST OF A UNIVERSAL STATEWIDE RIGHT TO COUNSEL

Two new reports show that a statewide Right to Counsel is good for New York

Time and again, Right to Counsel has proven to be immensely successful at stopping evictions: The numbers speak for themselves!

With the end of the pandemic-related eviction protections, landlords have sued over 230,000 tenants in eviction courts across the state and the number of tenants at risk of eviction continues to grow. Now more than ever, tenants need permanent and transformative solutions to protect their homes and their rights. 

With so much at stake, one thing is crystal clear: ALL New York State tenants need the universal Right to Counsel NOW!

Today, we released a new report that shows implementing a statewide Right to Counsel is fiscally good for New York State: The Estimated Cost of an Eviction Right to Counsel Outside of New York City

Prepared by the advisory firm Stout, the report presents an analysis of the cost associated with providing free legal representation for tenants outside of New York City. The report also demonstrates how implementing a statewide Right to Counsel would positively impact New York State government, tenants, and the courts. For an overview of the potential benefits and estimated cost of Right to Counsel outside of New York City, read our Fact Sheet

               

Another report, released earlier this week by the Community Service Society, explains why New York State tenants need a universal Right to Counsel: Right to Counsel Works: Why New York State’s tenants need universal access to lawyers during evictions. The report shows that implementation of a universal statewide Right to Counsel would extend additional rights to 332,000 households across the state, including 186,000 households in New York City.

How much would statewide Right to Counsel (S6678 / A7570) cost?

$500 - $550 million is the estimated minimum total cost of providing Right to Counsel to ALL tenants statewide. New York State does not need to start from scratch to fund a universal statewide Right to Counsel: New York City already allocates about $166 million to Right to Counsel and the $35 million for upstate legal services recently proposed by the Governor could be allocated towards year 1 implementation of statewide Right to Counsel. The $500 - $550 million is not an upfront cost; once enacted into law, statewide Right to Counsel will need to be implemented over the course of several years, which means the state can fund the law incrementally over time.   

$144 - $200 million is the estimated cost of providing Right to Counsel to ALL tenants outside New York City (i.e. for the rest of the state) at FULL implementation. For more, read the complete Stout report and our Fact Sheet.

Implementing a universal statewide Right to Counsel is crucial to stopping evictions, makes good fiscal sense, and is more than possible.

We need the state legislature and Governor Hochul to make Right to Counsel (S6678 / A7570a TOP PRIORITY this year. Help us get statewide Right to Counsel past the finish line!

 

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