City’s ‘Right to Counsel’ Law Fosters National Movement in Housing Courts

News Story (NATIONAL, New York)

Sadef Ali Kully
City Limits
February 28, 2020
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Tags: Civil Right to Counsel, Housing: Eviction

Organizations mentioned/involved: Right to Counsel NYC Coalition, Public Justice Center (PJC), National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC)


When New York City’s Right to Counsel law, which gives low-income tenants facing evictions free legal help in housing court passed in 2017, advocates expected a drop in evictions.  What they did not expect was the impact the bill’s passing would have on a national level. After the Right to Counsel law passed in New York, it created a ripple effect. So far, Washington, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Newark, San Antonio, and Philadelphia have established the right to counsel laws, programs or initiatives. Federal legislation has been introduced, and the issue has been raised in several of the presidential primary campaigns.