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

SUPPORT RIGHT TO COUNSEL FOR LOW
INCOME TENANTS IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY

If you believe that all low income tenants in Westchester County should receive free legal representation in eviction proceedings, call, email, or write your county legislator today. Tell your legislator:

Under the US Constitution, no one may be criminally prosecuted without legal representation. If a defendant cannot afford an attorney, an attorney is provided free of charge.

Under New York State Law, no one may lose custody of their children without legal representation. If a parent cannot afford an attorney, an attorney is provided free of charge.

But 93% of tenants facing eviction in Westchester housing courts have no legal representation. Tenants without attorneys typically lose their case – and their homes – within 3-4 minutes. No one in Westchester County should be evicted from their home without legal representation. If a tenant cannot afford an attorney, an attorney should be provided free of charge.

The Westchester Right 2 Counsel

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

  1. Expand emergency access to legal services as part oftheir immediate response to the current eviction crisis
  2. Fund a cost-benefit study proposed by nationalconsultants Stout Risius Ross to evaluate the long-term cost-effectiveness of implementing the right to counselcountywide for approximately $55,000. (Each family thatenters emergency housing here costs $39,000 per year).

 

 

 

 

Rationale for Westchester R2C Coalition’s Plan

  1. The “Eviction Tsunami” is already building and is expected to hit hard in January. We don’t have time to plan and implement a full Right To Counsel by January but we also can’t afford to do nothing. We need to immediately expand emergency access to legal services as part of amore comprehensive response to the current eviction crisis.
  2. Ultimately we need to understand the true costs and benefits ofimplementing a Right To Counsel in Westchester. That is a complexquestion that involves projecting the impact of multiple costs (e.g. emergency housing, long-distance school busing, increased hospitalizations and emergency services). Westchester County has aproposal from national consultants Stout Risius Ross to evaluate thelong-term cost-effectiveness of implementing the right to counselcountywide. The study would cost $55,000 and be completed in 6 months. This would give us a solid basis for developing a sustainableRight 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 to support the Westchester Right 2 Counsel Coalition’s recommendations to: 1) immediately expand access to legal services for low-income households facing evictions and 2) fund the cost-benefit study proposed by Stout Risius Ross to determine the long-term feasibility of implementing a Right To Counsel in Westchester.

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

Please note that all data collected in the above form will not be shared or sold in any way.
All data is used internally to help guide and direct our organizing efforts so that we can be as effective as possible.
You may receive a very occasional email asking for additional assistance.