African-American homeowners whose government-guaranteed mortgages were auctioned by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to the highest bidder filed a class action lawsuit on Friday in federal court, exposing the discriminatory impact of HUD’s Note Sale Program, compelling HUD to review the disparate racial impact of the Program and demanding that HUD […]
MFY Supervising Attorney Justin La Mort explores how rent-stabilized apartments are disappearing as a result of fraudulent individual apartment improvements in the current issue of the NYU Review of Law & Social Change. The article shows how these phony improvements are are exacerbating the city’s affordable housing crisis and recommends several legal and policy changes […]
MFY Supervising Attorney Maia Goodell and Staff Attorney Karla Johnson are among 41 Fellows who have been selected to participate in the 2016 Racial Justice Training Institute, a national training program or the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law that builds the capacity of low-income people’s advocates to deploy up-to-date racial justice advocacy skills […]
A report by MFY Legal Services an Housing Conservation Coordinators shows that Airbnb rentals are having a disastrous impact on NYC’s housing market and significantly contributing to the decrease in affordable units, especially in Manhattan and Brooklyn. More than half of Airbnb’s lists are illegal under city housing law, and 30% of listings are controlled […]
MFY Legal Services Endorses
The Joint Statement from NLADA and the Shriver Center
Members of the legal aid and public defender community were horrified and outraged by the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Two more Black lives taken by those who ostensibly serve and protect. We must find a better path toward justice for our society and for people of color. A first step for our community is to state firmly that we stand in solidarity with the Black community and against the racial inequality that still plagues our nation.
We affirm what should be undeniable—Black Lives Matter. The recurring violence against Black people is but an extreme manifestation of our society’s persistent racism, which denies the Black community, and other communities of color, the right and opportunity to be safe and healthy, to work and live with dignity, and to flourish.
We live in a country where those tasked with protecting our communities too often possess unfounded biases, whether implicit or explicit, that Black people pose a constant danger. This has led to situations where having a broken taillight or selling cigarettes or CDs is punishable by death; where reaching for a wallet is an act of aggression warranting a lethal response.
Our country has always been plagued by these beliefs—that Black communities and other communities of color are criminal and untrustworthy. This is not limited to one part of the country; it is a systemic national problem stretching from New York to Minnesota, California to Florida, and beyond. Our solutions must also be national and systemic. We must address the significant role that race plays in policing practices. Members of the legal aid and public defender community must form genuine and sustainable, community-led partnerships aimed at bridging the racial divide in our country.
Honoring this commitment will take hard work and honest self-criticism. “We’ve always done it this way” is not enough. We commit to a hard look at our work and to ensuring our efforts are driven by the experiences of people of color and an explicit commitment to combating racism. We commit to a hard look at ourselves and our organizations to consciously challenge our own biases and ways we unintentionally contribute to systems of racial disadvantage. We commit to building enduring alliances with communities who struggle against racism every day. Our work must support community leadership.
As we honor the pain and suffering of the communities that have lost loved ones, including the five officers killed in Dallas, we must be guided by justice and love. For us, that path starts with a commitment to be steadfast allies in the pursuit of racial justice. We must work together with all stakeholders, including law enforcement, to develop solutions to these very pressing problems.
As an immediate next step, we will work with our partners to develop an Action Plan for Racial Justice that can guide our organizations in effectuating our commitment.
If you have applied or tried to recertify for New York City Transit Authority's Access-A-Ride program, or if you will do so in the future, please read these important documents regarding a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit: Proposed Settlement and Class Notice.
Tens of thousands of low-income New Yorkers who were victims of abusive debt collectors won an unprecedented victory on November 12, 2015 when a settlement was reached, ending a six-year battle to achieve justice for low-income New Yorkers whose bank accounts were restrained or wages garnished after default judgments based on “sewer service” were entered against them.
“Thousands of low-income people across the state suffered severe financial consequences as a result of the callous and illegal actions of the three sets of defendants,” said MFY Supervising Attorney Carolyn Coffey, who co-counseled the case with Senior Staff Attorney Ariana Lindermeyer, and with the New Economy Project and Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady. “We expect this settlement will have far-reaching consequences across the debt-collection chain and will help to put an end to predatory practices by debt buyers and the law firms and process serving companies that work with them.”
Matthew Desmond's new book, Evicted, looks at the eviction epidemic in America, and the sobering facts of how housing costs impact poor families. Click here for a video on eviction narrated by the author. Click here to read an excerpt of the book.
MFY envisions a society in which there is equal justice for all.
MFY’s mission is to achieve social justice, prioritizing the needs of people who are low-income, disenfranchised or have disabilities. We do this through providing the highest quality direct civil legal assistance, providing community education, entering into partnerships, engaging in policy advocacy, and bringing impact litigation.
Our practice areas include:
Mental Health Consumers
Adult Home Residents
Public Benefits Recipients
Nursing Home Residents
Illegal Boarding House
Three-Quarter House Residents