Housing Programs


MFY defends tenants’ rights and prevents evictions each year in rapidly gentrifying communities.

When MFY opened the doors to its first storefront office in 1963, apartment buildings and tenements throughout the city provided affordable housing to tens of thousands of low-income families. Now, after decades of runaway gentrification, those earning the median income can scarcely afford a rent-stabilized apartment, with market rate housing completely out of their reach. For low-income New Yorkers, the situation is desperate.

MFY’s housing program works on many fronts to preserve affordable housing and protect tenants’ rights. We provide advice, counsel and representation to thousands of tenants each year, help organize and support tenant organizations, advocate for policies and programs to provide greater protections for tenants and to promote affordable housing, and represent tenants in eviction proceedings and Housing Part actions to obtain repairs and make apartments and buildings habitable. MFY also initiates affirmative litigation to enforce fair housing protections for people with disabilities.

MFY empowers communities to advocate for tenant rights by providing information and trainings on tenants’ rights and partnering with neighborhood-based organizations that work to assist low-income residents and organize tenants.

When a tenant contacts MFY with a housing problem, we also conduct a thorough interview to identify other issues that may be contributing to the housing problem, such as loss or denial of public benefits, credit card debt, or an employment problem, and refer the tenant to an MFY attorney who can help resolve those issues.

In addition to serving low-income tenants in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx, we provide housing and other legal assistance citywide to specific groups, including:

People with Mental Illness
Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) Tenants
Three-Quarter House Tenants
Manhattan Seniors
Nursing Home Residents
Adult Home Residents

MFY’s housing program is supported by grants from New York City and New York State governmental agencies and the Oak Foundation, Scherman Foundation, van Ameringen Foundation, Ambrose Monell Foundation, and Rudin Development Association.