Presentation on theme: "Hon. Jaya Madhavan, Bronx Housing Court Ellen Howard-Cooper, NYC Department of Homeless Services Prepared for the ICPH National Conversation of Child Homelessness."— Presentation transcript:
Hon. Jaya Madhavan, Bronx Housing Court Ellen Howard-Cooper, NYC Department of Homeless Services Prepared for the ICPH National Conversation of Child Homelessness and Poverty January 19,2012
The Housing Help Program prevents homelessness by providing legal and social services to tenants facing eviction from high-needs zip-codes in the Bronx. Targeting matters in Prevention: Bronx has the city’s number of eviction filings – over 75,000 per year Bronx has the city’s highest share of shelter entrants – over 40% About one of three shelter entrants are due to eviction
4 The majority of families who are evicted and enter shelter do not become engaged in services before homelessness is imminent. While 95% of landlords are represented by an attorney in housing court, over 95% of tenants are not. This often results in eviction, since tenants can: lack an understanding of legal notices and proceedings lack a defense become intimidated by the legal process are unable to effectively negotiate with an attorney face language barriers.
ZIP CODEENROLLED HHPENROLLED HB Calendar Year 2011
The program is housed in Housing Court and tenants are automatically referred to HHP when they first come to court. HHP cases are heard by two judges who are dedicated to the program. Staffed by lawyers, paralegals and social workers All tenants facing eviction meet with HHP staff HHP tenants have access to a broad spectrum of social services HHP is subject to rigorous evaluation
Largest housing court in the nation Hundreds of thousands of tenants and landlords cycle through the court each year Court is dedicated to collaborative relationships with multiple City Agencies as well as non-profit providers in order to prevent evictions
Unlike the HHP, traditional legal service agencies lack the paralegal, social work, and attorney resources to assist in all cases. HHP allocates its resources to ensure that virtually all are served. HHP paralegals and attorneys provide hands on assistance to tenants through every step of their case. Self-represented cases are constantly monitored through the final result with full representation available when needed. HHP is able to target resources to serve more vulnerable families. Even those with cases that do not seem to have legal merit are addressed, providing assistance to those who may need it most.
Legal Services: Brief and Full 70% Receive Brief Legal Services ▪ Provided when tenant is unlikely to need full representation ▪ Paralegals walk the tenants through the process Remaining 30% Receive Full Legal Services Short-Term Social Service Help tenants apply for public assistance Provide financial counseling Long-Term Social Services Tenants needing longer-term assistance are referred to NYC’s community-based homelessness prevention program, Homebase
Homebase allows households to create a personal housing plan, offering services such as: Legal services, Mediation, Short-term emergency funding, and Assistance with obtaining employment, public benefits and accessing other social service.
Evaluated the program based on the likelihood of entering shelter after program enrollment Found a control group: Family Anti-Eviction Legal Services Available in all neighborhoods Heavier reliance on full legal services Housing court staff often refer cases to community offices Traditional model that takes a triage approach
HHP associated with reduced hazard of shelter entry Our results may understate program efficacy FALS is subject to two counts of selection bias Comparing HHP to a pre-existing program Further research required to tease out the impact of individual program features
Can be adopted by localities Needs a willing Housing Court partner Requires a legal and social service team Can be tailored to each community’s needs