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The Right To An Attorney… In Housing Court (Above the Law)

Above the Law, September 27, 2016

The Right To An Attorney… In Housing Court

“It’s not as though New York hasn’t been spending to help people find lawyers before now. In fact, the de Blasio administration increased funds for these services ten-fold and evictions are at their lowest level in a decade. Not really surprising, considering Legal Aid and the NYC Bar ran a study that found eviction chances decrease 75 percent if the tenant has a lawyer. But codifying legal assistance as a right would be a game-changer, expanding the program far beyond its present reach and more than tripling its upfront cost. But an independent analysis suggests this move actually saves money:

‘Providing legal representation to all low-income tenants would cost the city about $200 million a year, according to a March report by Stout Risius Ross, an independent advisory firm, for the bar association. But the report contended that the effort would save the city even more than that — over $300 million, annually — by keeping 5,237 families a year out of shelters, at a cost of $43,000 per family, along with other savings, such as through the preservation of rent-regulated affordable housing.'”

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