Social Justice

The Shaarei Tikvah Social Justice Committee is focusing on securing a right to counsel for Westchester County residents facing evictions. 

  • In 2019 there were over 10,000 eviction proceedings brought in Westchester County.  Evictions are unequal contests: 93% of landlords have lawyers, but only 7% of tenants do.  Tenants without lawyers rarely win their cases, but tenants with lawyers almost always win their cases. 
  •  In 2019, 4,960 people entered Westchester’s shelter system.  Most evicted people don’t immediately enter a shelter.  First they drain their savings and exhaust their family and social networks, often doubling-up in overcrowded housing.  Eventually many wind up in shelters.

Westchester could see 5,000 to 10,000 eviction cases filed just in the beginning of 2021.  Without legal representation, it is unlikely that tenants will be able to retain their housing.

Shaarei Tikvah members can help bring a right to counsel to Westchester by taking the following steps today:

  1. Find your county legislator: https://giswww.westchestergov.com/ElectedOfficials/index.html
  2. Email your county legislator at https://www.nykolami.org/right2counsel.  Using this site enables the R2C Coalition to track how many people contacted each legislator.

Find Your County LegislatorEmail Your County Legislator

Homelessness creates feelings of hopelessness and terror that span generations – especially for kids who lose the security of believing that their parents will be able to provide them a home.  The pandemic has created an eviction crisis.  Business furloughs and closures are forcing thousands of Westchester renters to fall behind on their rents.  While there have been moratoria in place, they do not prevent rent arrears from accumulating.  Furthermore, each moratorium comes with its own set of rules, requirements, procedures and exceptions.  These rules keep changing every few weeks or months.  

New York City was at the forefront of a national movement to provide a right to counsel for low-income people facing evictions.  Its program has been phasing in for several years and has dramatically reduced evictions.  Similar programs are being adopted around the country including Newark, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Santa Monica, San Francisco, and Rochester.