Westchester County Right To Counsel Coalition

Sponsored by
Bet Am Shalom, Congregation Kol Ami, Hebrew Institute of White Plains,
Shaarei Tikvah of Scarsdale, and Temple Israel Center of White Plains

The Westchester Right 2 Counsel

Westchester’s R2C Coalition is asking county residents to email their local county legislator and urge them to:

  1. Dedicate some of the County’s Federal stimulus funds to immediately expand legal services for low income tenants in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
  2. Implement the cost/benefit study with Stout by the summer.
  3. Publicly declare an intent to pass a right to counsel bill by 2022.
  4.  Publicly support the statewide right to counsel movement.



Rationale for Westchester R2C Coalition’s Plan

  1. The “Eviction Tsunami” is already building and will hit hard at the end of the COVID-19 restrictions.  We don’t have time to plan and implement a full Right To Counsel before the eviction restrictions are lifted, but we also can’t afford to do nothing. We need to immediately expand emergency access to legal services as part of a more comprehensive response to the current eviction crisis.
  2. Ultimately we need to understand the true costs and benefits of implementing a Right To Counsel in Westchester. That is a complex question that involves projecting the impact of multiple costs (e.g. emergency housing, long-distance school busing, increased hospitalizations and emergency services). Westchester County has agreed to fund a cost-benefit study in its 2021 budget.  The County should hire the advisory firm Stout Risius Ross to evaluate the long-term cost-effectiveness of implementing the right to counsel countywide. The study is already funded, and could be completed in 6 months. This would give us a solid basis for developing a sustainable Right To Counsel plan for 2022.

Want more info?
Click here for a PDF presentation on the facts about evictions and homelessness in Westchester County.

How to Participate:

Step 1: Click on the link below to figure out which district within Westchester you belong to.

https://giswww.westchestergov.com/ElectedOfficials/index.html

Step 2: Start filling out the form to on the right (or below if on mobile). Please enter your name, email, affiliation, and which district you belong to. Hit the “next” button!

Step 3: You are now provided with your representatives email. Please open up your email client and compose a new message. Below is a suggested template, feel free to personalize your email!

To: [your representatives email here]

CC: CE@westchestergov.com **make sure you CC the county executive!**

Subject: Supporting Tenant Rights – Right To Counsel

Body:

Dear [representative name],

I am one of your constituents and live in _______________.  I urge you, your fellow legislators, and the County Executive, to support the Westchester Right 2 Counsel Coalition’s recommendations to: 1) Dedicate some of the County’s Federal stimulus funds to immediately expand legal services for low income tenants in response to the COVID-19 crisis, 2.) Hire Stout Risius to conduct a cost-benefit study by the summer, using the funds the County set aside for that purpose in its 2021 budget 3.) Publicly declare an intent to pass a Westchester County right to counsel bill by 2022, 4.) Publicly support the statewide right to counsel movement.

Sincerely,

[your name here]

Then hit send!

Step 4: Once you have sent your email, click on the “I sent my email” button and then “Submit” and you are done!

Thank you so much for your support. Each action, email, letter, and phone call made to our representatives can make a real difference.

Make sure to share this with your friends!

For any questions and thoughts please reach out to rtcwestchester@gmail.com