Legal Aid Society


City’s Landmark Eviction Defense Program in Dire Need of More Funding

The Legal Aid Society, Legal Services NYC (LSNYC), New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) and other civil legal services organizations are calling on the City for $351 million in increased funding to ensure that low-income tenants facing eviction have access to an attorney in New York City Housing Court, as intended by the City’s landmark Right to Counsel (RTC) law.

In March 2022, for the first time ever, LSNYC announced that it was unable to staff Housing Court intake in Queens for the remainder of the month due to increasing demand and insufficient capacity. Legal Aid and NYLAG made a similar announcement last April due to the same issues. Since then, RTC providers have been forced to decline over 10,000 housing court cases.

Since the eviction moratorium was lifted last January, eviction filings have soared in New York City. Filings increased significantly in every borough compared to 2021, underscoring the need for RTC providers to be fully funded.

The additional funding request would increase providers’ capacity, allowing them to represent all eligible people who come through New York City Housing Court.

“Rents across New York City continue to rise, and eviction filings are nearing pre-pandemic levels, displacing families from their homes and communities,” said Adriene Holder, Chief Attorney of the Civil Practice at The Legal Aid Society. “Now more than ever, low-income New Yorkers mired in eviction need access to an attorney, and we call on both ends of City Hall to save Right to Counsel by fully funding our needs.”