Protecting Housing Rights

Inside NYLS’s Latest Work Protecting Housing Rights

The COVID-19 pandemic put millions of New Yorkers at risk of eviction. Even with recovery on the horizon, many remain vulnerable.

Throughout the pandemic, NYLS’s Housing Rights Clinic has helped clients stay in their homes. And NYLS’s Housing Justice Leadership Institute continues to train housing rights attorneys in the management skills needed to scale their organizations. Professor Andrew Scherer, Policy Director for NYLS’s Impact Center for Public Interest Law, leads this work, with vital support from students.

Students Help Draft State Legislation

NYLS students are working to expand the right to counsel in evictions statewide. On June 3, advocacy groups announced a new bill that would establish a right to counsel for all New Yorkers. NYLS students Ashley Grater 3L, Joseph Rochman 2L, and Aida Flores 3L, with supervision by Professor Scherer, drafted the legislation. It is modeled on New York City’s historic 2017 right-to-counsel legislation.

Students Compile Bibliography on Racial Discrimination in Evictions

Students in NYLS’s Housing Rights Clinic helped research and compile “Racial Discrimination in Eviction Proceedings and Enforcement, an Annotated Bibliography.” The bibliography includes articles, reports, and case decisions that provide context for understanding racial discrimination in eviction proceedings in New York. NYLS submitted the document to the New York State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, which is studying these issues. Aida Flores 3L, Professor Scherer’s Teaching Assistant, and clinic students Carly Gartenberg 2L, Lara Giray 3L, Ashley Grater 3L, Kira Lopez 2L, Melissa Marshall 3L, Frank Piña 3L, Joseph Rochman 2L, and Madeleine Robinson 2L drafted the comprehensive document.

NYLS Receives Major Grant

In June 2021, NYLS received a significant grant from the JPB Foundation to support extending the right to counsel in evictions nationwide. After New York City became the first municipality to guarantee legal representation to tenants facing eviction, a growing number of cities and one state have followed suit. Professor Scherer was closely involved in the campaign for New York City’s 2017 right-to-counsel legislation. The grant will support his efforts to share New York City’s example across the country.