Residential evictions by marshals declined in New York City decreased 15 percent last year the largest single-year decrease since Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the “tenant’s right to counsel” law and launched the city’s Universal Access to Counsel program. Since 2013, evictions have slid more than 40 percent, impacting over 100,000 tenants, according to the city’s figures.
Over the course of the de Blasio Administration, over 350,000 New Yorkers have received assistance in eviction and other housing-related matters through tenant legal services programs, including the right to counsel program, the nation’s first and largest initiative that will ensure that every tenant facing eviction in Housing Court has access to free legal services. Of the tenants receiving City counsel in cases where they are facing eviction, over 84 percent have been able to keep their apartments.
“If we’re going to save our city, we must do everything we can to help people stay in the homes they love,” said de Blasio. “With evictions down over 40 percent citywide, the unprecedented investments we’ve made in tenant legal services have helped 100,000 people stay in their homes and off the street.”
Since 2014, the city has dedicated unprecedented funding for legal assistance for tenants facing eviction and harassment, increasing overall investment from $6 million in Fiscal Year 2013 to over $128 million in Fiscal Year 2020.
Through the Universal Access initiative, 400,000 New Yorkers facing eviction are expected to receive legal assistance annually at full ramp up in 2022, with annual funding for legal services for tenants increasing to $166 million. In 2019 alone, 41,000 households representing 105,000 New Yorkers received legal representation and advice, including over 32,000 households representing 83,000 New Yorkers facing eviction in Housing Court. This reflects a 24 percent increase in households served compared to the prior year and a 74 percent increase compared to 2017, before the formal launch of right to counsel. In 2013, only 6,500 households representing 23,000 individuals had City-funded legal services.