More than 200 people facing eviction in Manhattan and Brooklyn this month will have to represent themselves in court without lawyers, because there are too many cases and not enough attorneys left, Legal Aid said Monday.
Despite the city's Right to Counsel law, Legal Aid said the state Office of Court Administration (OCA) continues scheduling eviction cases, meaning that eventually there's no one left to represent people.
The group estimated that for the rest of this month, at least 230 eviction cases in Manhattan and Brooklyn will proceed as scheduled without an attorney for the tenants.
“Since 2017, Right To Counsel has helped tenants across New York City remain in their homes, but now, due to the lack of meaningful action from OCA, this invaluable and proven program hangs in the balance,” Adriene Holder, Attorney-In-Charge of the Civil Practice at The Legal Aid Society, said in a statement. “Our request to OCA is simple: limit the calendaring of these cases, according to provider capacity, so all tenants at risk of eviction have legal representation."
Statewide, eviction filings are on the rise, as COVID-era bans have been lifted. There were more than 40,000 in the state in the first three months of the year, according to court data. That's down sharply from the same period in 2019 and even 2020, but up almost five-fold from last year.