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New York City Labor Calls For ‘Expansion’ Of Right To Counsel

Published Friday, February 28, 2020
by New York City AFL-CIO Labor Council News
New York City Labor Calls For ‘Expansion’ Of Right To Counsel

(NEW YORK CITY) – Earlier this week, the New York City AFL-CIO Central Labor Council, the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2325, the Legal Services Staff Association/UAW Local 2320, and American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) District Council (DC) 37 testified before the New York City Council calling for the city’s Housing Court Right to Counsel Law to be strengthened and expanded to include families within 400% of the Federal Poverty Line.

Currently, only tenants who fall within 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines and live within one of a handful of zip codes have universal access to counsel in Housing Court, meaning that someone could work full time at minimum wage and not be eligible for access to an attorney.

The majority of tenants with incomes within that range work in health care, education, social services, retail, hospitality and food service, Labor Officials testified.

Approximately 56,000 to 71,000 households in this income range are sued in Housing Court each year, and 61% of them do not receive any form of housing assistance.

The New York City Labor Movement has for years engaged through the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition to collaboratively combat housing and income inequality.

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