By Elizabeth Kim
Two years following the passage of a landmark law which gave low-income tenants facing eviction the right to a free attorney, a new bill has been introduced in the City Council to mandate city funding to tenant organizing groups so they can educate people on their legal rights.
In 2017, New York became the first city in the nation to adopt the right-to-counsel law. But advocates say that most low-income tenants still do not know that they are entitled to a lawyer during eviction cases.
“It’s about making them aware and having them exercise this right,” said Lauren Springer, a tenant organizer in Queens who works with Catholic Migration Services, a nonprofit legal services provider.
The right-to-counsel law is currently being rolled out by zipcode. To date, 345,000 households in the city are covered. Citywide implementation is expected by 2022.