Can Other U.S. Cities Follow in NYC’s Footsteps to Help Renters?

Other cities, including Philadelphia and Boston, are taking cues from New York’s playbook.

Op-Ed (New York)

Alexis Stephens
February 21, 2017

Tags: Civil Right to Counsel, Housing: Eviction

Organizations mentioned/involved: Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia, National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC), Impact Center for Public Interest Law (NY)


Despite the high rate of evictions and affordable housing squeeze, New York City is better positioned to provide a right to counsel than other cities. The city has better rent regulations and laws requiring landlords to keep apartments in good repair than the rest of the country. In Philadelphia, the right-to-counsel campaign has taken on a different sense of urgency.

“We’re a little bit behind because our city isn’t the same size and there isn’t the same legacy of tenant advocacy as New York,” says Rasheedah Phillips, managing attorney of Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. “We don’t have as much money, and in terms of our data, prior to recently there really hasn’t been a way to access information without taking a very tedious look at municipal court data.”