Newsletter: Our plan to save New Yorkers’ Right to Counsel when facing eviction; updates on combating rats, keeping bus doors open, and more

Seal of the Office of Mark Levine, Manhattan Borough President

The eviction crisis in NYC housing courts has reached epic proportions.

Right now, thousands of New Yorkers are facing the prospect of losing their homes because they do not have the resources to hire a lawyer when up against landlords and their seasoned legal representation in court.

We went a long way in solving this problem when the City Council passed a bill I introduced creating the Right to Counsel (RTC) law, which mandates that all income-eligible tenants receive free legal representation in housing court. This first-in-the-nation tenant protection worked – when tenants are represented by RTC lawyers, 86% remain in their homes.

But with the post-pandemic avalanche of cases, legal service providers just can’t keep up with the caseload. Since March, thousands of tenants have faced evictions without an attorney, seriously undermining the Right to Counsel law.

After months of indifference from the state-run Office of Court Administration to remedy the situation, I have once again teamed up with my RTC co-sponsor Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson to release a plan to save RTC.

“An Action Plan to Save Right to Counsel” is a six-point plan to get NYC back into compliance with the RTC law and keep New York families from the horrors of eviction.

Read the full newsletter HERE.

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