Newark becomes third city to enact right to counsel for evictions

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06/01/2019, Legislation, Housing - Evictions

UPDATE: city begins work on implementing right to counsel

New Jersey Dot Com and Patch have reported that the City of Newark has provided $400,000 in initial funding to start implementing the right to counsel for evictions.  The money will go towards expanding a pro bono program and to Essex Legal Services. 


UPDATE: right to counsel bill enacted!


In late December 2018, the Newark City Council enacted an ordinance sponsored by Mayor Ras Baraka that guarantees counsel to tenants under 200% of the federal poverty level who are facing eviction.  By enacting this law, Newark joined NYC and San Francisco, which passed such laws within the last year. 


UPDATE: initiative takes step forward


NJ dot com reports that Newark passed an ordinance to create a nonprofit to connect eligible tenants with representation, the first step taken since the Mayor announced his intention.  However, "The ordinance does not cite funding sources or detail the responsibilities of the nonprofit”, although the article suggests the City will fund the nonprofit at least in part. 




In May 2018, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, standing with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, announced he intends to introduce legislation on Friday that would provide a right to counsel for Newark tenants in housing court.  The plan is for the first stage of implementation to occur on Sept 1 (which would apply to roughly 10,000 seniors, people with disabilities, and undocumented immigrants), with the whole effort to be in place within 3-5 years. News stories say the city intends to rely at least initially on pro bono attorneys to carry out the project.  


The news has been picked up by, the NY TimesWBGO, and Moguldom, while the Newark Star-Ledger's Editorial Board came out in support of the legislation.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes