How to Find Eviction Assistance Programs and Resources

Written by JustFix.nyc
Updated 06/24/2020

If your home is threatened by eviction, you might feel alone or helpless to stop it. Eviction assistance programs and resources can help you understand your options. Currently, there is an eviction moratorium covering the state of New York until August 6, 2020! This means that you cannot be evicted under any circumstances and don’t have to go to housing court. You can check out this Eviction Moratorium FAQ from the Right to Counsel Coalition to get more info, and learn what you can do to fight back and stay in your apartment once the moratorium ends.

Get free legal representation or advice

Eviction Free NYC is a free resource from JustFix.nyc for anyone who has received an eviction notice. It helps you figure out the next steps in fighting your eviction and locate free legal assistance. The entire resource is available in English, en español, en Français, and nan kreyol.

Simply type in your address, or choose the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) public housing development you live in from a drop-down menu, and a pop-up message will appear to say if you’re eligible for a free attorney. Next, select the type of eviction notice you’ve received, or review a few samples of the samples shown to help you figure it out. Finally, you’ll be shown instructions on where to go in housing court to get matched with an attorney, if you’re eligible.

Even if you aren’t eligible, a list of other legal service providers, clinics, and organizations that are closest to you will appear so you can call or email them to ask about your other options.

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Who has the right to a free lawyer?

Right to Counsel (RTC) is a law that guarantees tenants the right to a free lawyer to defend their eviction case. Right now, the law only applies to people who live in certain zip codes and make a certain amount of money or less (called being “income eligible”). RTC covers all types of eviction cases and tenants (Section 8, public housing/NYCHA, rent stabilized, people who live in houses). People of all immigration and citizenship statuses also qualify. And even if you’re not income eligible, you have the right to free legal consultation.

The goal for the program is to guarantee an attorney for every income-eligible tenant, regardless of their zip code, by 2022.

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What can you do if you don’t have the right to a free lawyer?

No matter who you are or where you live, there are things you can do to take control of your eviction case. Eviction Free NYC can help you figure out next steps, including the schedules, phone numbers, and emails of nearby no-cost legal clinics that you can contact before your court date. The site even gives you the option to text yourself a link to all this personalized information to save for later.

New York City has several resources for any resident at risk of eviction, already facing eviction, in need of rental assistance, or emergency shelter. If your income is low and you have no other options besides going into the shelter system, you can call a program called Homebase, and talk directly with staff who can determine what services you are eligible for. If you have more questions before calling, you can consult the Homebase FAQ.

Given the current context of COVID-19, there are now even more legal service providers available to give you free advice, even if they can’t represent you. Get in touch with them by calling the City’s Tenant Helpline by dialing 311, or email civiljustice@hra.nyc.gov at any time.

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Want to take action?

Respond to an eviction notice

Check if you have the right to a free attorney and connect with legal service providers and housing organizations closest to you.

Check My Options
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Learn more about the fight to defend tenant housing rights

Check out the Right to Counsel Coalition’s Frequently Asked Questions to understand more about why the program is so important, how it was created, and any other questions that the Eviction Free NYC resource can’t answer. You can also call the RTC hotline at 718-557-1379 to ask more questions or get referrals to more resources. The RTC Coalition leads campaigns to build tenant power, expand the Right to Counsel program, and shift the culture at housing court to ensure the highest level of legal support for tenants. When you join a tenant rights campaign, you may also get connected to other tenants who have successfully fought and won their eviction cases. Joining together to build a community is often a powerful resource itself, so take the time to see how you can get involved and learn about organizing with others as you’re securing your housing.

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Exercise Your Tenant Rights

JustFix.nyc creates tools to protect your housing rights, from getting repairs to responding to eviction notices. Enter your address to see our tools.


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