In January of 2012, our membership voted to start a campaign to reform the Bronx Housing Court, challenging a range of unjust, predatory and fraudulent practices that pervade the court and lead to an unnecessarily and unacceptably high number of evictions in the Bronx—over 11,000 in 2011, the highest in all of New York. In partnership with the Urban Justice Center, we spent a year doing research to document tenants’ experiences. We conducted 1,085 surveys, facilitated 3 focus groups and conducted 15 observations of judges. After analyzing the data and creating findings, we worked with an advisory committee of housing and policy experts to articulate policy recommendations. We released our report, entitled, Tipping the Scales: A Report of Tenant Experiences in the Bronx Housing Court, in March of 2013.
Our Campaign has two main focuses:
- To change the policies and procedures within the court itself, such improving the process for tenants to file complaints, having tenants’ rights signs and bulletins, etc. (see the report for the full list of recommendations).We won agreements from the Office of Court Administration for court staff to wear identification cards, bi-lingual informational presentations in court rooms and more!
- We won our main demand and made history when Right to Counsel was signed into law in August 2017! Now that NYC is the first city in the country to pass a law making it a right for tenants to have an attorney in housing court to defend themselves, we are working to make sure that it is implemented well. We are working with the city-wide coalition of tenant groups, legal services providers, academics and advocates we formed in 2014 to oversee this implementation process as it is rolled out. Go to the website to learn more about the Coalition for Right to Counsel NYC!
We’ve come a long way since we released our report!! Join us!
For more information, please contact:
(718) 716-8000 ext. 243