(STL.News) – New York Attorney General Letitia James, launched the Tenant Legal Assistance Program to provide $742,000 in funding for organizations to offer tenants free legal assistance in Upstate New York and Long Island who face eviction during the COVID-19 crisis. Funds from the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement, the largest consumer financial protection settlement in the history of our nation, will be used for this program to support one year of funding.
The grant will provide training for volunteer attorneys in addition to the funds. Grant recipients have not yet been identified. An RFP was released today to kickstart the process and make tentative awards by September 4, 2020.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is offering this grant opportunity to fund legal service providers who represent tenants to develop and manage volunteer attorney programs in six regions across the state: Long Island, Southern Tier, Capital Region, Hudson Valley, and Western and Central New York.
“Tenants outside of New York City face unique challenges, including that they do not have access to free legal assistance,” said Attorney General Letitia James. We know that without legal representation, tenants are often unfairly and unjustly evicted. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, more New Yorkers than ever are facing payment issues and eviction. These grants will help ensure that everyone who has the right to stay in their home is able to do so.”
Through this program, grantees will provide direct representation to tenants in addition to providing education related to tenant protections tied to the COVID-19 crisis. These organizations will also identify procedural and structural reform priorities within their regions. Additionally, the grant will fund one organization to develop an online resource center, which will publish materials developed by the volunteer attorney programs to provide information to tenants, attorneys and others about tenants’ rights and protections related to COVID-19.