For more than 30 years, University Settlement has paved the way in innovative programming to address housing insecurity and homelessness. In New York City, more than 70% of tenants do not have an attorney to represent them in Housing Court, while more than 99% of landlords do.
That is, until now.
Working as a member of the Right to Counsel NYC coalition, we've successfully advocated with Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to pass a law ensuring free universal access to legal representation for low-income New Yorkers in Housing Court.
"I think it's an amazing feat for our coalition and an incredible bit of organizing," said Jennifer Vallone, our Senior Program Director of Project Home (our eviction prevention program). "I think having a lawyer is incredibly important for MANY cases, and if we can work our way out of a job, that is ideal."
Tenants will no longer have to fear unjust evictions, including experiencing retaliations for organizing to address concerns and issues within their buildings. We thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for their support of this important action.
Learn more about the Right to Counsel Coalition on their website, and check out a recent piece in Politico about the initiative!