By Oscar Abello
...“For years, landlords have been operating under the assumption that they won’t have to face a lawyer on the other side,” says New York City Council Member Mark Levine, who has been pushing for more tenant legal services funding since before he took office in 2014. “In addition to OCJ’s numbers, we’ve heard anecdotally that landlords, when they see that tenants now have representation on a court case, just drop the case.”
In his previous life, Levine helped found Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union, serving the largely Latino communities in uptown Manhattan. “We had many members of the credit union dragged into housing court, who would often come to us for loans to pay off back rent. For many reasons, we were not able to make all those loans,” he remembers.