Furman Center Releases Policy Brief on Housing Court Legal Assistance
The NYU Furman Center recently released a policy brief on New York City’s Universal Access to Counsel (UAC) program, which guarantees legal representation for income-eligible tenants facing eviction in Housing Court. In 2017, New York City enacted the first legislation in the country establishing the right to legal representation for all income-eligible tenants facing eviction. The program has been implemented in four selected ZIP codes in each of New York’s five boroughs, with citywide universal access mandated by July 2022.
Over the last year, Furman Center researchers closely observed the UAC program’s launch, conducting scores of interviews with key stakeholders including tenants, judges, legal services lawyers, landlords’ attorneys, tenant advocates and organizers, and court personnel. The Policy Brief covers several aspects of the UAC roll-out in New York City, including:
- The phase-in period;
- The selection of legal service providers and potential effects on their staffing needs;
- Eligibility screening and the assignment of counsel;
- Tenant education and rejection of counsel;
- Housing court infrastructure and its ability to meet the demands of UAC; and
- UAC’s effect on the practice of housing law generally, and the implications of new models on landlords and tenants.
The policy brief can be found at http://furmancenter.org/files/UAC_Policy_Brief_12_11-18.pdf.