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By Stephon Johnson

The need for no-fee attorneys for people facing eviction in New York City is so great that nonprofit legal providers are asking the city to quadruple the budget for their services. But the City Council speaker says it’s the state that needs to step up.

The attorney groups who represent low-income tenants in Housing Court this week called on City Hall to increase funding from the current $110 million they receive to $461 million for Fiscal Year 2024, which begins July 1. 

The request comes as Mayor Eric Adams has pushed most agencies to cut 4% from their budgets as part of citywide cutbacks. Council Speaker Adrienne Adams’ office said Wednesday that any additional funds for eviction lawyers would have to come from the state budget, not the city’s.

“We have been advocating for the state budget to support by contributing a major share to fulfill the need,” Adams’ spokesperson told THE CITY. “This Council is committed to fighting for a city budget that invests in the critical programs New Yorkers rely on, including legal services that keep renters and homeowners alike in their homes.”

State lawmakers are still hashing out a budget in Albany, having blown past the April 1 deadline. Gov. Kathy Hochul extended the deadline to April 17.