Hochul announces recipients of $25 million to provide free legal assistance to struggling tenants

Metro Creative Connection

Mon 15 November 2021 15:45

Expands access to legal services throughout New York State

Governor Kathy Hochul announced Monday the legal service providers who will receive a portion of $25 million in federal funding to provide free legal assistance and comprehensive housing stability services. The winners will use the money to help tenants avoid eviction in areas of the state outside of New York where access to free legal aid is not available to meet those tenants’ needs. Legal assistance aims to help tenants and landlords resolve rent-related disputes and maintain the stability of tenant housing.

“The pandemic has taken a massive economic toll on New Yorkers, and we have taken aggressive action to provide rental assistance and relief to those struggling,” Hochul said. “These six organizations have a long history of doing the essential work of providing legal services to vulnerable New Yorkers, and we are proud to partner with them to expand their ability to help tenants across the state.”

Local grant recipients include

√ Legal Assistance of Western New York, awarded $4,515,111 to serve the Finger Lakes and parts of Western New York;

√ Neighborhood Legal Services, awarded $3,585,677 to serve part of Western New York;

Each provider is said to have extensive experience working with vulnerable populations and is easily accessible to tenant households in the areas they serve. Additionally, selected service providers will work with other local organizations to ensure that their services are widely available to serve those most in need in all areas of the state outside of New York.

Barbara C. Guinn, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the State Office for Temporary Help and Disability Assistance, said, This funding will significantly expand free legal assistance for tenants to help them avoid homelessness. eviction and to stay in their accommodation. We are grateful to legal service providers who partner with the state to support housing stability in communities across the state. Governor Hochul’s decisive action will undoubtedly help many New Yorkers effectively resolve disputes with landlords and stay in their homes.

Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner said: “Tenants may face eviction proceedings that could cost them their homes, their jobs, their access to quality education and their mental and physical. Access to an attorney is crucial for families facing eviction and is an excellent investment in expanding economic justice for all New Yorkers.

Western New York Legal Aid Executive Director Kenneth Perri said, “With the upcoming expiration of the eviction moratorium on January 15, 2022, this funding award by the State Office of New York for Temporary and Disability Assistance at LawNY allows us to extend our services to financially challenged tenants who would otherwise face eviction and potential homelessness without legal representation. Tenants in 13 counties will be best served by our offices in Bath, Elmira, Geneva, Ithaca, Jamestown and Olean. On behalf of myself, the staff and Board of Directors of LawNY and, most importantly, the clients we serve, I express my gratitude to the OTDA for providing us with this opportunity to expand our services to our communities during this unprecedented time.”

Neighborhood Legal Services Inc. Executive Director Lauren Breen said, “Neighborhood Legal Services and our legal services partners at WNY are extremely grateful for this critical funding from the OTDA that provides much-needed access to justice to prevent homelessness among individuals and families in NYS who have suffered. overwhelming financial and health challenges during the pandemic. »

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