Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

right to counsel

right to counsel

  • Protect housing for the most vulnerable (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Five years ago, New Yorkbecame the first city in the country to create a right to counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction. Unfortunately, this right is now being hollowed out by the combination of a recent explosion of eviction cases and a shortage of tenants’

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  • (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)

    New York housing (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    New York City’s Right to Counsel (RTC) has proven to be successful at stopping evictions and protecting tenants’ rights. Evictions in New York City have plummeted, landlords are suing tenants less, and almost everyone who fights their eviction with an RTC attorney stays in their homes. This has been especially true during the pandemic. Amidst ever-changing laws and complicated government relief programs and administrative orders, RTC has been critical.

    And it’s now even more

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  • eviction nightmare expanding

    An eviction nightmare looms as housing court reopens (Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    A new threat is looming for the very Black and brown communities in New York City that have been hit the hardest by the dual pandemics of coronavirus and racism in policy: a massive wave of evictions. 

    That’s because phase 1 of New York “reopening” didn’t just apply to construction and curbside retail. It also applied to housing courts. This could have disastrous consequences for tenants. Housing court personnel have already started

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  • cm car riv small bus

    Small businesses are closed or on the brink across the city (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The day after the 90-day moratorium on eviction ends, residential and commercial eviction proceedings will potentially flood our courts, leaving families and small businesses gasping for air. 

    Amid this pandemic, it is imperative that New York City expands the Right to Counsel law by increasing legal capacity to meet the inevitable COVID-19 eviction demand, and, building on this model, establish a new initiative to provide free legal

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  • Gibson Lander Council

    Coucil Member Vanessa Gibson, right (photo: William Alatriste)


    New York City’s civil legal services went under the microscope Tuesday at a hearing held by the City Council’s Courts and Legal Services Committee. One in a series of City Council hearings on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $84.67 preliminary budget, the committee heard from representatives of the Department for Social Services about its programs and budget needs.

    Testifying before the committee, DSS Commissioner Steve Banks delineated his department’s spending, focusing specifically on

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