Legal aid attorneys hail Forest Hills lawmaker’s plan to combat homelessness

Photos courtesy of Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi’s office

As the city scrambles to find a permanent solution to the homelessness crisis, one local lawmaker from Forest Hills has received the support of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys – UAW Local 2325 for his Home Stability Support (HSS) plan.

Dozens gathered outside of the Bronx Housing Court on Nov. 3 as the UAW Local 2325 attorneys officially endorsed Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi’s HSS plan to keep people in their homes before they are evicted and become homeless.

In order to accomplish this goal, the HSS plan seeks to increase the state’s rental subsides. Before 1975, many of the families on public assistance had their rent paid in full. But state housing allowances have greatly fallen behind the housing and rental market as skyrocketing housing costs are forcing residents from their homes and into the streets.

“These legal aid attorneys at UAW Local 2325 form the front line in the fight to keep families in their homes. I am proud to have such dedicated and selfless defenders of the right to housing onboard with Home Stability Support,” Hevesi said. “Homelessness in New York State not only causes unimaginable pain to families, but it also costs taxpayers billions of dollars a year on services and the legal proceedings like the cases happening right here in this building. With Home Stability Support, we can address this growing crisis in a fiscally and socially responsible way, and ultimately keep more families in their homes.”

This plan would not only keep people in their homes, but it would save taxpayers millions of dollars each year.

According to the coalition, HSS would cost $11,224 per year for a household of three in New York City, while the cost of shelters in the city is $38,460 for a family with children. The net savings for taxpayers would be $27,236 per year, with similar savings being realized in counties throughout the state.

For over 40 years, the UAW Local 2325 union member legal aid attorneys provide pro bono legal assistance and representation to low-income New Yorkers and families facing eviction. The 1,200 members of UAW Local 2325 have worked for the Legal Aid Society in the criminal, juvenile rights and civil practices.

Photo courtesy of Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi's office.
Photo courtesy of Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi’s office.

“My members see how homelessness impacts every aspect of a client’s life and HSS presents both a viable and fiscally-sound solution to keep families and individuals in their homes,” said Deborah Wright, president of UAW Local 2325. “We also have the backing of UAW Region 9a that represents thousands of middle class workers from New York City through the Hudson Valley, Long Island, New England, and Puerto Rico.  We are committed to do whatever it takes to make HSS a reality, and finally offer our clients and all low-income New Yorkers a real solution to prevent the devastating transition into homelessness.”

The site of the Nov. 3 rally — the Bronx Housing Court — has been site to the largest share of eviction proceedings in the city.