Brooklyn lawmakers from across the borough lauded Mayor de Blasio‘s announcement today that residential evictions by marshals declined more than 40 percent since 2013.
In 2019 alone, evictions decreased 15 percent—the largest single-year decrease since de Blasio signed the first-in-the-nation “tenant’s right to counsel” law and launched the City’s Universal Access to Counsel program.
Since 2013, through the City’s comprehensive efforts, more than 100,000 New Yorkers who might otherwise have faced evictions have been able to stay in their homes, with residential evictions steadily trending downwards in every borough.
“If we’re going to save our city, we must do everything we can to help people stay in the homes they love,” said de Blasio. “With evictions down over 40 percent citywide, the unprecedented investments we’ve made in tenant legal services have helped 100,000 people stay in their homes and off the street.”
Over the course of the de Blasio Administration, over 350,000 New Yorkers have received assistance in eviction and other housing-related matters through tenant legal services programs, including the right to counsel program, the nation’s first and largest initiative that will ensure that every tenant facing eviction in Housing Court has access to free legal services. Of the tenants receiving City counsel in cases where they are facing eviction, over 84 percent have been able to keep their apartments.
Since 2014, the City has dedicated unprecedented funding for legal assistance for tenants facing eviction and harassment, increasing overall investment from $6 million in Fiscal Year 2013 to over $128 million in Fiscal Year 2020.
Through the Universal Access initiative, 400,000 New Yorkers facing eviction are expected to receive legal assistance annually at full ramp-up in 2022, with annual funding for legal services for tenants increasing to $166 million. In 2019 alone, 41,000 households representing 105,000 New Yorkers received legal representation and advice, including over 32,000 households representing 83,000 New Yorkers facing eviction in Housing Court.
De Blasio said protecting tenants is a core part of his administration’s strategy for confronting the affordable housing crisis. Unlike in New York City where investments in legal services are helping reduce evictions, evictions are up nationwide. As a result, cities across the country are taking notice and looking at this Administration’s programs and successes as models, implementing their own versions of this program to provide similar protection to their residents.
“New York is leading the way to provide legal assistance to tenants facing eviction, increasing the chance for people to stay in their homes and neighborhoods. The expansion and success of the right to counsel program is a critical piece of the work needed to address the housing affordability crisis,” said City Council Member Brad Lander (D-Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, Kensington).
“Every tenant deserves the right to counsel in housing court and I applaud the Mayor’s Office for its work protecting working families from predatory landlords. After the historic Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, I hope to continue working with the Administration to combat the homelessness crisis on both a city level and a state level and make sure no tenant is evicted from their home unfairly,” said State Senator Julia Salazar (D-Bushwick, Cypress Hills, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, East New York).
“Making sure that tenants know their rights and have access to the legal resources available to them are common-sense goals that have made a powerful difference in the numbers of families and individuals who have been able to retain stable housing and avoid the crisis of homelessness,” said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach), chair of the Assembly Housing Committee. “This is one example of a straightforward yet innovative program that is successfully protecting low-income New Yorkers and working to keep people in their homes and communities.”
In 2020, the City will also launch a citywide campaign to further spread the word about available resources and continue encouraging New Yorkers experiencing housing instability to reach out.
If you or someone you know is facing eviction, our City is here to help. Don’t hesitate—call for assistance today at (718) 557-1379 or visit the HRA Office of Civil Justice website at www.nyc.gov/civiljustice for more information.