ALAA Members Testify for the Right to Counsel in Housing Court


ALAA member Taylor James testified today in favor of the Intro 214, a bill that was introduced by City Council Members Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson in March of 2014, would provide attorneys for tenants and homeowners at 125% of the poverty line who are facing eviction and foreclosure in Housing Court.  The bill, now Intro 214-A was later amended to cover tenants at 200% of the poverty line or below. Many of us have been working on issues of affordable housing, tenant power and housing court reform for decades. As we rallied to support this important and critical bill, we recognized the need to form a new coalition, independent of the legislature, that would build a citywide movement not for increased funding for representation, but for NYC to be the first city in the nation to establish a RIGHT to counsel for tenants in housing court. We formed a coalition rooted in principles of equity, humanity, diversity and justice.  We are also working to develop and champion a new legal services model that can be implemented when a comprehensive bill passes. We are working towards a bill that will be fully funded and that will do justice to those facing eviction in housing court so that tenants have qualified, dedicated and experienced housing attorneys who can devote the time they need to their cases.