Right to Counsel in Housing Court: The Bottom Line

A new report, which finds that New York City would save hundreds of millions of dollars a year by providing a right to counsel for tenants facing eviction, has added new urgency and optimism to a campaign to pass a bill that would establish such a right.

Blog Post (New York)

Susanna Blankley, Andrew Scherer
Huffington Post
April 18, 2016

Tags: Civil Right to Counsel

Organizations mentioned/involved: Impact Center for Public Interest Law (NY)


The study estimates that providing counsel to eligible New Yorkers would cost $191 million annually. Savings would come from reducing shelters costs ($251 million) and preserving regulated, affordable apartments that would otherwise convert to higher cost, market rate rentals following evictions ($250 million). An additional $9 million would be saved by eliminating city services that are often tapped because of evictions, such as emergency room care and law enforcement.

The report also points to other less quantifiable savings that flow to society when its most vulnerable citizens keep a roof over their heads, including savings in public education, juvenile justice services, public assistance benefits – such as unemployment insurance when the loss of a home results in the loss of a job – and reductions in the public cost of enforcing rent laws and housing codes.