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Expands Access to Legal Services Throughout New York State

For Immediate Release: 11/15/2021

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the legal service providers who will be awarded portions of the $25 million in federal funding to offer free legal assistance and comprehensive housing stability services. The awardees will use the money to help renters avoid eviction in areas of the state outside of New York City where access to free legal aid is not available to meet the need of these renters. The legal assistance is aimed at helping both tenants and landlords resolve rent-related disputes and maintaining tenants’ housing stability.

 

“The pandemic has taken a tremendous economic toll on New Yorkers, and we have taken aggressive steps to provide rental assistance and relief to those struggling,” Governor Hochul said. “These six organizations have long been doing the critical 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 entire state.”

 

Grant recipients include the following:

 

  • Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, awarded $4,076,178 to serve the Capital Region and parts of the North Country;
  • Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, awarded $3,998,452 to serve the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, Central New York and parts of the North Country;
  • 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;
  • Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, awarded $5,591,018 to serve the Hudson Valley;
  • Nassau/Suffolk Law Services Committee Inc., awarded $3,233,564 to serve Long Island.

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

 

Barbara C. Guinn, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, which is administering the legal assistance grants, said, “This funding will greatly expand free legal assistance for tenants to help them avoid eviction and stay in their homes.  We are grateful for the legal services providers that are partnering with the state to support housing stability in communities throughout the state.  Governor Hochul’s decisive action will undoubtedly help many New Yorkers to effectively resolve disputes with landlords and remain in their homes.”

 

Assemblymember Latoya Joyner said, “Tenants can be subject to eviction proceedings that could cost them their housing, their job, their access to a quality education and their mental and physical well-being. Having access to legal counsel is crucial for those families faced with eviction and is a great investment in expanding economic justice for all New Yorkers. I thank Governor Hochul for supporting this initiative.”

 

Legal Aid Society of Northeastern NY Executive Director Lillian Moy said, “We are enormously grateful that OTDA has awarded these ERAP funds to Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York and other legal services providers to ensure much needed tenant representation in every county in Northeastern New York.  We are committed to preventing homelessness and ensuring housing stability post-pandemic.”

 

Legal Aid of Western New York Executive Director Kenneth Perri said, “With the upcoming expiration of the moratorium on evictions on January 15, 2022, this award of funding by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to LawNY allows us to expand our services to financially distressed renters who otherwise would face eviction and potential homelessness without representation by an attorney. Tenants in 13 counties will be able to be better served by our offices in Bath, Elmira, Geneva, Ithaca, Jamestown and Olean. On behalf of myself, the LawNY staff and board of directors and, most importantly, the clients that we serve, I express gratitude to OTDA for affording us this opportunity to expand our services to our communities in this unparalleled time.”

 

Legal Services of the Hudson Valley Executive Director Rachel Halperin said, “We are grateful to the Governor for this funding and ensuring that tenants are given the opportunity to assert their rights before a right as basic as housing is lost. This funding will enable us to expand access to justice throughout our region and New York State and continue to help communities in need recover from the lasting impact of the pandemic.”

 

Nassau/Suffolk Law Services Committee, Inc. Executive Director Victoria Osk said, “Nassau/Suffolk Law Services is extremely grateful for this opportunity to better serve the large number of Long Island tenants facing eviction in the wake of the pandemic, with the goal of preventing a new wave of homelessness in our region.”

 

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

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