Tenant Support Unit Resolves its 1,000th Case
Evictions by city marshals have decreased 24 percent since Mayor de Blasio took office, down from 28,849 in 2013 to 21,988 in 2015. And evictions decreased by 18 percent last year even as the number of cases filed by owners for nonpayment of rent declined by only 2 percent, court and city marshals figures show. The drop in evictions may be due to de Blasio administration’s efforts to increase free legal services for tenants.
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that the newly created Tenant Support Unit resolved its 1,000th tenant case since it launched in July 2015. The proactive unit goes door-to-door in neighborhoods across the city, informing tenants of their rights, documenting building violations, soliciting complaints related to harassment and eviction, and making referrals to free legal support whenever necessary. "When it comes to protecting tenants and affordable housing, we don't wait for a 311 call to come in. We have teams knocking on doors in fast-changing neighborhoods to solve problems then and there. This is a new strategy that's helping us keep New Yorkers in their homes and fight displacement before it happens," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The Tenant Support Unit is part of a multi-pronged approach Mayor de Blasio has implemented to fight displacement. It includes a ten-fold increase in free legal services for tenants — totaling $62 million – that will be fully implemented this year. Modeled after the outreach program for Pre-K for All that successfully enrolled 68,500 children in free, full-day Pre-K, the Tenant Support Unit reaches New Yorkers directly. Since it launched in July 2015, specialists from the unit have knocked on more than 57,000 doors and called more than 23,000 tenants, identifying 2,400 New Yorkers that needed help. One thousand of those cases have been resolved so far, and agencies and legal service providers are addressing the remainder.