More New Yorkers Facing Eviction Have Lawyers, But No Right to Counsel Yet

Observer.pngBy Jillian Jorgensen

...After the press conference, Levine said the money the city was investing in legal services was a good start.

“We’ve made huge headway as the money we’re spending has been ramped up and has been proven to be so effective, and as the needs become ever more glaring in this age of anxiety about displacement,” he said in a telephone interview.

With 27 percent of tenants covered already, Levine said that number would climb even higher when all the city’s new programs were online and with other help pledged for those in neighborhoods being up-zoned through the mayor’s affordable housing plan. If  those measures could extend legal coverage to about 40 to 50 percent of tenants, and if the knowledge they may face lawyers dissuades unscrupulous landlords from taking tenants to court, a right to counsel “becomes a very reasonable proposition,” he said.

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