NEW YORK, N.Y. – AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel issued the following statement in response to a proposal by New York City Council Members Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson and the Right To Counsel Coalition to expand the landmark Right to Counsel (RTC) law signed last year. The law is already reducing wrongful evictions and ensuring New Yorkers can stay in their homes:
“Bravo to Council Members Levine and Gibson and the Right to Counsel Coalition for their smart proposals to expand access to legal representation for tenants at high risk of wrongful eviction.
“Before the RTC law was signed last year, almost all low-income tenants who faced eviction lost their case because they had no representation in court. The RTC law has already led to marked improvements in less than a year; not only have the number of evictions declined, but fewer landlords are trying to evict tenants.
“AARP fought hard alongside elected officials and advocates to get the RTC bill passed last year. And we will work hard to ensure the needed expansions proposed by Council Members Levine and Gibson and the RTC Coalition also become law – including increasing the income threshold to qualify for legal representation to 400% of the federal poverty line, expanding the Right to Counsel outside of Housing Court and connecting tenants to lawyers before they get to court.”
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.