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Who’s Supporting a Right to Counsel in Housing Court? (City Limits)

City Limits, December 8, 2016

Who’s Supporting a Right to Counsel in Housing Court?

“The de Blasio administration has targeted the problem from its first days, increasing the funding for anti-eviction legal services ten-fold. According to testimony in September by Steven Banks, the Human Resources Administration commissioner, the share of tenants enjoying legal representation in housing court has increased from 1 percent in 2013 to 27 percent, and the number of evictions overseen by city marshall is down by a quarter, since de Blasio took power. In that September hearing, the de Blasio administration did not take a position on Intro. 214-a, the right to counsel bill, but Banks did indicate that the city should see what impact the de Blasio programs have before committing to new spending. And there has been debate over the pricetag of a right to counsel: The Independent Budget Office estimated in 2014 that the move could cost the city $100 million to $200 million annually, but a more recent estimate commissioned by the Bar Association found instead a $300 million net benefit to the city.”

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