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A Right to a Lawyer to Save Your Home (The New York Times)

The New York Times, September 23, 2016

A Right to a Lawyer to Save Your Home

Now, New York City, where affordable housing is in cripplingly short supply, could become the first jurisdiction in the country to require lawyers for all lower-income people facing eviction. This new approach, by some estimates, could even save the city money. The City Council is considering a bill that would provide free legal representation to anyone facing eviction or foreclosure who has an income of less than twice the federal poverty line. In New York City, that means an individual making below $44,000. Tenants in about 128,000 cases — more than 80 percent of all housing court cases each year — would qualify, according to a report commissioned by the City Bar Association. Having a lawyer makes all the difference. When tenants represent themselves in court, they end up being evicted almost half the time. With a lawyer, tenants win 90 percent of the time.

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