Free Housing Court Lawyers Are Driving Down Eviction Rates, City Says

The de Blasio administration is crediting its program to provide free lawyers to low-income tenants for helping reduce New York City’s overall eviction rate.

According to the city’s Department of Social Services, the eviction rate dropped by 14 percent in 2018, and has fallen 37 percent since de Blasio took office in 2014. While the Right to Counsel law still has three years to go in its five-year phase-in plan, Commissioner Steven Banks says it has already gone a long way towards helping level the playing field between tenants and landlords.

“When I first went to housing court, it was like David against Goliath for the tenants without lawyers. And essentially we’ve given a slingshot to the tenants,” Banks told WNYC.

Since the Right to Counsel law went into effect in 2017, the city says it has helped more than a quarter million New Yorkers with legal representation, advice or assistance in eviction cases. Banks’ sentiment has been echoed by tenant advocates across the five boroughs.

DHS Facing Tough Questions After CBS2 Report On Homeless Family’s City-Sponsored Housing

EAST ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Yesterday, CBS2 introduced you to Kevin Nicholson, and showed you how his wife and two sons have been living since New York City’s Department of Homeless Services, or DHS, relocated the family to East Orange, N.J. in June.

CBS2’s Ali Bauman sought answers from the landlord and city officials about this forgotten family as they were once again staying in a shelter Friday.

Imagine having no shower or tub water.

“We had to put buckets [in the tub] to put the water from the bottles to wash,” said Kevin Nicholson

It’s a reality his family, whose temporary home has no heat, no water, no lights.

Bipartisan Group of Elected Officials Calls for New Program to Fight Homelessness

ALBANY – With state budget negotiations fast approaching, more than a dozen lawmakers are calling for the final spending plan to include enactment of a program to reduce reliance on homeless shelters.

The renewed bipartisan call to adopt the Home Stability Support program comes months after the Daily News reported on Coalition for the Homeless data that showed New York State has more than a quarter of a million homeless people, including 152,839 school-age children.

Assembly Social Services Committee Chairman Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens) for several years has pushed the Home Stability Support program, intended to reduce reliance on homeless shelters by creating a new rent subsidy to keep people in their homes.

The measure, which has widespread bipartisan support in the Legislature and among local government officials, would cost $400 million over the first five years and then $400 million annually to keep it running.

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