The Potential Benefits and Estimated Cost of an Eviction Right to Counsel Outside of New York City

FACT SHEET:  The Potential Benefits and Estimated Cost of an Eviction Right to Counsel Outside of New York City

Statewide Right to Counsel (S.6678A/A7570B) ) strengthens Right to Counsel in New York City and guarantees the right to a free lawyer to ALL tenants facing eviction across New York State.  To estimate the total cost of a statewide Right to Counsel, we worked with Stout to produce an analysis of the cost associated with providing free legal representation for tenants outside New York City. Combining the outside New york City cost estimate with an updated cost estimate for an expanded Right to Counsel in New York City gets us to the total statewide cost- Our estimated minimum total cost of providing Right to Counsel to tenants statewide is on our website at https://www.righttocounselnyc.org/statewidertccost

Once enacted into law, statewide Right to Counsel will be phased over seyeral years. The benefits and cost of Right to Counsel outside New York City included in this fact sheet would happen at full implementation. For the complete cost analysis and more research on the benefits of Right to Counsel outside New York City, read the full report at: bit.ly/RTCCostStudyOutsideNYC 

BENEFITS

Approximately 46,600 tenant households outside New York City would receive legal representation under a statewide eviction Right to Counsel.

Approximately 97% of tenants who appear in eviction court would benefit from Right to Counsel. With dedicated funding to community organizing and outreach, the percentage of tenants that accept free legal representation will likely be closer to 100%.

Right to Counsel makes it harder for landlords to use evictions as a tactic to harass and displace tenants. Implementations of a statewide eviction Right to Counsel could decrease eviction filings outside New York City by at least 19% (over 5 years at an annual decline of 5%, starting in year 2). Eviction filings may decrease more (such as in New York City where they dropped by 30%, or less depending on the effectiveness of implementation and the state’s commitment to tenant organizing and outreach about the Right to Counsel.

When a tenant doesn’t appear in court, the judge can issue a default judgment, which allows the court to issue an eviction warrant. A statewide eviction Right to Counsel would reduce the number of default judgments outside New York City, with an expected 32% decline in default rates.

lmplementing a statewide eviction Right to Counsel would likely save New York state and local governments millions of public dollars (over and above the cost of providing the Right) that would otherwise be spent on shelter, emergency room costs, homelessness services, and more. Like most cities and states with an eviction Right to Counsel, New York State could see cost savings of $3 – $6 per dollar invested in Right to Counsel.  For example, Stout estimated that Baltimore could save $3.06 per dollar and the state of Maryland could see cost savings of $6.24 per dollar (Baltimore City plus Maryland), from the same investment in an eviction Right to Counsel.

COST

$144 million – $20o million is the estimated cost of providing an eviction Right to counsel to ALL tenants (with no income restrictions) outside New York City.

Mid-February 2022 “News & Update”

HAPPY NEW YEAR! A belated greeting to our members and friends. We haven’t reported to you since before then holidays. We’re still busy though, helping to keep tenants in their homes and preparing for significant challenges into 2022.

ERAP – Emergency Rental Assistance Program MVUT has been extremely busy and successful in utilizing the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to secure back rent assistance for tenants who had had a loss of income or additional expenses as a result of Covid-19. MVUT has helped over three hundred (300+) tenants process ERAP applications. We do not have an exact count of successful ERAP applications but we know that a majority of our clients did receive assistance and were able to remain in their apartments. There have been talk and rumors, etc., that ERAP is finished. IT IS NOT! MVUT is still helping tenants submit applications at this time. However, ERAP could end before long. If you, or anyone you know, could be eligible for ERAP, we encourage you to contact MVUT ASAP. Call Andrew at (914) 699-1114 x 304.

EVICTION MORATORIUM For most of 2021 there was an EVICTION MORATORIUM in effect for tenants who had filled out and submitted a “Financial Hardship Declaration” to the court and/or their landlord. MVUT assisted literally hundreds of tenants in filing such “Declarations.” However the moratorium ended January 15, 2022 despite the pleas of MVUT and the broad tenant movement in recognition of the overwhelming, continuing need. We’re expecting that there will be a huge increase in court proceedings against tenants as a result of the ending of the moratorium. We are prepared to push for the re-instatement of the moratorium should the courts become overwhelmed and more and more tenants become homeless. If that happens we ask that you raise your voice as well. We’ll provide information and guidance as needed.

NEIGHBORHOOD PRESERVATION PROGRAM (NPP) The NPP has been MVUT’s largest funding source for years. However, each year we have to fight for funding for the NPP despite the great work that the 133 Neighborhood Preservation Companies (NPCs) do in their economically distressed communities.

Unfortunately the governor proposed funding for the NPPs at the same amount as last year – $12.8 million. We are asking the legislature to add $1.7 million bringing the total to $14.5 million. This would provide each group with at least $100,000.00. The $12.8 million which has been static for a number of years now actually represents a “cut” via inflation. The housing needs of all our neighborhoods continue to increase – often dramatically. Funding should increase as well! We’re also requesting that our statewide coalition be granted a long-overdue increase in funding from $150,000 to $250,000.

We’re enclosing a copy of the Neighborhood Preservation Coalition of New York State “2022 Legislative Advocacy Agenda”. We’re also enclosing a two-sided flyer describing the Neighborhood Preservation Coalition and tallying some of the impacts of the numerous member “companies.” We’d ask that all of our members and friends reach out to their State Senator and State Assemblyperson and push them t support to the NPC/NYS Legislative Advocacy Agenda both requesting additional funding and their support for two (2) important bills – Right To Counsel (Bills S06678, A 07570) and Good Cause Eviction (Bills S03082, A05573).

For Mt. Vernon tenants your legislators are:

Senator Jamaal Bailey – Room 707 Legislative Office Building Albany, NY 12247 (518) 455-2061, (718) 547-8854 BAILEY@NYSENATE. GOV
Assemblyman Gary Pretlow-Room 845 Legislative Office Building Albany, NY 12248 (518) 455-5291, (914) 667-0127 PRETLOJ@ NYSASSEMBLY.GOV

If you live elsewhere call the League of Women Voters (194) 949-0507 for your Senator and Assemblyperson info. Please make those calls and send letters or emails. If you have questions, call the MVUT office at (914) 699-1114.

We’re also enclosing another two-sided flyer from Westchester County “Help is Available” for back rent and heat and utilities.  As for back rent, most tenants know they can also contact MVUT! Let your neighbors know too.

Support Tenants’ Rights!
Support Affordable Housing!!
Support MVUT!!!

Download MVUT Mid-Feb22 News and Update (PDF)
Download Rent Assistance Flyer (PDF)
Download NPC Fact Sheet (PDF)
Download NPC Legislative Agenda 2022 (PDF)

 

Mid-December 2021 News and Update

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

As we bring 2021 to a close, we’re hoping everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and will also have a safe, secure and joyous holiday season (Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, New Year’s, etc.)
It’s been a challenging and rewarding year for MVUT. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage our community, impacting all of us in so many hurtful ways. lt’s at times like these that we really need COMMUNITY! MVUT works day-in, day out, to provide that – keeping people in their homes, improving services for tenants and fighting landlord harassment throughout Mount Vernon and all over Westchester County!

A major part of our work all year long has been fighting the pandemic through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). MVUT has successfully submitted hundreds of applications directly for tenants who had either lost income or had additional expenses as a result of Covid 19. In numerous other cases we assisted others in uploading documents or referring tenants to make their own applications directly. We helped countless tenants in filing “Hardship” applications to the court to prevent their court cases from proceeding until after the moratorium ends on Januarv 15.2022. All of these efforts have allowed tenants to maintain some level of normalcy during these terrible times.

We’re enclosing a copy of a November 21, 202 1 Sunday Journal News article “Despite Backlog, N.Y. Ends $2.4 Billion Relief Program” which highlights some of the great work MVUT is doing. The heading is somewhat misleading. We’re still processing ERAP applications as additional New York State funding has been made available and we’re hopeful significant new federal dollars will be as well. Please contact the office if you, or someone you know may need ERAP assistance.

Have you made your tax-free contribution to MVUT?  If not, please do so now. Remember, contributions to MVUT are tax-deductible. We’re enclosing a self addressed return envelope for your convenience.

Thanks and have a great holiday season!!!

We’ll see you in the New Year ! ! !

Download 12-20-21 Journal News Article (PDF)

Download MVUT Dec 2021 News and Update (PDF)