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NY renters rally for right to counsel amid eviction crisis

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  • Staff Report 

Over 100 New Yorkers, including tenants, organizers, and legal experts, gathered at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Albany for the Right to Counsel Coalition’s 2024 State of Evictions Forum. Discussions focused on addressing rent, evictions, and homelessness in New York, emphasizing building tenant power and establishing housing as a human right. Senator Rachel May, supporting the Statewide Right to Counsel initiative, stressed the importance of legal representation in preventing evictions and its impact on communities.

Keynote speaker Dio Kaufman, a tenant from Saratoga Lakeview Mobile Home Park, shared her community’s struggle against eviction and harassment, highlighting the crucial role of legal aid in their fight. The forum also explored the success of New York City’s Right to Counsel law and the ongoing eviction crisis, with over 175,000 New Yorkers currently facing eviction.

Following the forum, participants marched to Governor Kathy Hochul’s Executive Mansion, advocating for the expansion and funding of the Right to Counsel throughout the state. They emphasized the need for a new sponsor for the initiative after Assemblymember Latoya Joyner’s resignation and called for a $260 million allocation in the 2025 budget to support the cause. The Community Service Society’s survey data underscored the disproportionate impact of evictions on Black and Latino households, underscoring the urgency of the issue.