Litigation

Impact litigation is a powerful tool for bringing about lasting and systemic change. Through litigation, we ensure the government abides by the rights of New Yorkers and fulfills its legal obligations.

Clients Inform Litigation

The direct services we provide to our clients inform our litigation and guide us in class action suits that yield tangible results for our neglected neighbors.

Community Partners Help Impact Litigation

The Safety Net Project operates collaboratively with organizations that focus on poverty-related issues. By working together and pooling our resources, we can better serve our communities.

In 2013, SNP’s litigation team embarked on a multi-pronged strategy to bring about a new era of accountability and responsiveness in NYCHA developments. SNP first partnered with the tenant association at NYCHA’s Abraham Lincoln Houses to demand that the Housing Authority act like any other landlord by providing its tenants with safe, habitable living conditions.  SNP brought 17 individual relief cases against the Housing Authority demanding critical repairs on these dilapidated apartments. In a few short months, we successfully negotiated stipulations ordering the necessary repairs. The results are but the latest example of our dedication to using individualized legal services to bring about broad systemic change.

SNP and our allies have also coupled our direct legal services efforts, litigation, and policy advocacy with special events intended to cast the spotlight on the issues facing NYCHA residents in groundbreaking new ways. Together with the National Action Network and Community Voices Heard, SNP organized the first public housing mayoral candidate sleepover in the city’s history at the Abraham Lincoln Houses, a NYCHA complex located in Harlem.

As detailed in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Daily News, and over a dozen other local, regional, and national media outlets, 2013 Mayoral Primary Candidates Christine Quinn, Bill de Blasio, John Liu, Bill Thompson, and Anthony Weiner gathered at the Lincoln Houses to meet their hosts for the evening, all of whom were tenants who have long suffered from neglect at the hands of NYCHA authorities. By providing these candidates with an intimate view into the lives of Lincoln residents, SNP bridged the gap between power brokers and their constituencies.

While keeping the pressure on NYCHA to make public housing humane, SNP launched a new partnership with Community Voices Heard (CVH), a member organization of low-income people with experience in navigating government bureaucracies. During weeks of consultation with CVH membership, NYCHA tenants, and other community stakeholders, we quickly realized that fighting NYCHA’s disastrous land-lease proposal, known as “Infill,” was of the utmost priority to members of the community.

Using our extensive litigation experience, we represented one of the largest NYCHA developments targeted by the Bloomberg Administration for its Infill plan. The Infill Plan, which proposes demolishing community centers, playgrounds, and other public spaces for the purposes of building private luxury buildings, was crafted without engaging in legally required consultation and participation with those currently residing in NYCHA developments.

Together, our efforts helped bring about what former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn called “close…to a white flag of surrender” from the Bloomberg Administration. We are now partnering with residents from across the city as they craft a more inclusive solution to NYCHA's long-term problems.

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