Translation from English

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Council Member Mark Levine

Lawrence Kreger --

We just made history.Â

Today, right here in our own community at the West Side High School, we stood with Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to announce that from now on, tenants in housing court will no longer be forced to fend for themselves. Beginning today, New York City will be giving low-income tenants universal access to legal counsel in housing court.


For decades, housing court in this city has failed to meet a basic standard of justice. Because in eviction proceedings nearly all landlords have had attorneys and the vast majority of tenants have not. That is by definition an uneven playing field and the results predictably have been disastrous for tenants: over 20,000 families evicted a year.Â

New York City’s eviction epidemic is a tragedy on so many levels. But starting today, that will change.

When every low-income tenant has access to an attorney it will be a game changer for this city--one that will reverberate across the country. New York City is now the first place in America to take this dramatic step, and cities and states all over the nation will be inspired to follow our lead.

We are proving that in the era of President Trump, we don’t just have to play defense.  We can use the power of local government to score huge wins for social and economic justice for our people.

And this win would not have been possible without you. It would not hav happened without the countless advocates who fought for this, and organized around this to make today possible. I could not be more proud of our historic victory here today. Together we started the dawn of a new day for tenants.Â

Council Member Mark Levine
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