A cry for counsel: NYC tenants navigate evictions without legal representation
The steps of Bronx Housing Court were crowded Friday morning, but the issue at hand extends far beyond its doors — it is a matter that affects New York City as a whole, including here in Brooklyn. Tenants, housing activists, and political representatives have gathered to raise awareness of a growing number of unrepresented tenants facing eviction across the city.
Since the eviction moratorium was lifted in January 2022, a notable increase in eviction cases has been observed. Legal representation for tenants during these proceedings, a critical element in the eviction defense, is not keeping pace with the volume of cases emerging. Over 33,000 tenants citywide are navigating the housing court without legal counsel, of which 16,000 cases are reported in the Bronx.
The Right to Counsel NYC Coalition, leading Friday’s rally, is hoping to draw attention to these statistics and voice concerns about the implementation of the Right to Counsel (RTC). They are calling for an administrative pause on all cases until legal representation can be secured for every tenant facing eviction.
Friday’s assembly is a response to the urgent need to address tenants’ rights and legal representation access amidst the escalating number of eviction cases. The Coalition, supported by tenants and some elected officials, is advocating for the passage of state bills to strengthen and expand the RTC, ensuring tenants have the necessary legal support during eviction proceedings.
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