Pro Bono

Bill Would Give Free Housing Lawyers to N.Y. Elderly

“Would you send your grandmother to court without a lawyer?”

That is the question displayed on signs held by supporters of a proposed law to give older residents facing eviction or foreclosure a right to a lawyer in New York City’s housing court.

Councilwoman Rosie Mendez has introduced the bill to provide free legal housing help to residents age 62 and older if their household income is less than $27,000, the New York Times reports.

Although several legal aid groups help tenants facing eviction, they have to turn down the cases of most people seeking legal help. The Legal Aid Society says it represents about 15,000 tenants a year while turning down about 90,000 more. Legal Services for New York City said it can help only 21 percent of eligible tenants seeking a lawyer.

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