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Our Impact

Preventing Evictions. Protecting Affordable Housing. Representing Homeless Families and Individuals.

Preventing Sudden Rent Increases in Central Park West

The tenants of 435 Central Park West—many of whom had resided in the building since 1971—were subject to annual rent increases of 7.5%, forcing many to leave the building. The Legal Aid Society successfully argued in The New York State Appellate Division that the building’s 120 apartments should be subject to the state’s rent stabilization laws, which would have prevented the large increases.

“We’re here. We’re watching. And we are willing to fight for our neighborhoods and communities.

Shivani Alamo Staff Attorney, Tenant Rights Coalition

Challenging Disability-Based Discrimination in the City’s Homeless Shelter System

We worked with White & Case to bring Butler et al. vs. City of New York, a federal class action case challenging disability-based discrimination in the City’s homeless shelter system. Every night, there are nearly 60,000 people sleeping the City’s shelter system—a high proportion of them have difficulties resulting from a disability. In August of 2017, we secured a settlement with the City on behalf of a class of individuals who have a disability and who currently live in a shelter, who will seek shelter in the future, or who tried to access shelter on or after May 14, 2012.

By the Numbers

Our work seeks to shift the power dynamic, ensuring New Yorkers have access to shelter and affordable housing, and that tenants have the resources they need to advocate for their rights.


The number of homeless New Yorkers sleeping each night in municipal shelters is now 77 percent higher than it was ten years ago.


Families make up three-quarters of the homeless shelter population.


84 percent of all tenants who were provided an attorney in Housing Court remained in their homes.

Fighting for a Permanent, Enforceable Right to Shelter in NYC

In 1983, Steven Banks, a young Legal Aid lawyer, received a call for help from Yvonne McCain, a battered, homeless mother. A team of our attorneys subsequently filed and litigated the landmark case of McCain v. Koch. After 25 years of litigation, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Steven Banks announced the settlement of the case at City Hall. Banks told the packed press conference that “an enforceable right to shelter for homeless children and their families is now permanent, no matter what administration is in office, no matter who is Mayor.”

A contribution to The Legal Aid Society is about more than money.

Every donation helps us offer essential legal services to thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers, helping people buy food, pay rent, and care for themselves and their families.

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