FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2023
Mayor Noble Announces Launch of
Right to Counsel Program
KINGSTON, NY – Mayor Steven T. Noble is pleased to announce the City of Kingston has launched a Right to Counsel program to provide free legal counsel to income-eligible Kingston residents regarding housing issues. Legal Services of the Hudson Valley has been contracted to assist with the program’s implementation.
The Right to Counsel Program will provide residents with the information, resources, services, advice, and representation they need to exercise their housing rights. Issues might include potential eviction proceedings, habitability claims for repairs, claims under the Emergency Tenant Protection Act, and discrimination proceedings.
“We are proud to launch this program, which is designed to help our residents facing eviction in court or other pressing housing issues. Legal counsel can be prohibitively expensive, which makes this is a social justice issue – no one should lose their housing because they can’t afford an attorney;” said Mayor Noble. “My team and I have been using every available tool to protect our residents from the housing crisis, and this is just another one of our strategies to keep our community members housed.”
Kingston residents qualify for the Right to Counsel program if they meet Legal Services of the Hudson Valley’s eligibility requirements and have an annual income at or below 120% percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), as calculated based on household size and annually updated for Ulster County by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In addition, to ensure the program is serving those residents with the greatest need, at least 50% of all clients served by the program will have an annual income at or below 100% AMI.
The Right to Counsel Program can be accessed in any of the following ways:
- Call LSHV’s central intake at 1-877-574-8529
- Visit Legal Services offices at 550 Aaron Ct, during business hours: weekdays from 9:00am-5:00pm
- Click the ‘Get Legal Help Now’ button on lshv.org.
This free legal service is provided for income-eligible City of Kingston residents for housing issues only. Services can be offered in English and Spanish.
“Legal Services of the Hudson Valley is proud to partner with the City of Kingston in their efforts to keep the members of their community in stable housing. As the sole provider of comprehensive civil legal services to low-income residents throughout the Hudson Valley, we have seen firsthand the imbalance of power between tenants and landlords. This much-needed program assists tenants in asserting their legal rights when their basic human need for housing is at risk. Providing counsel to low-income tenants effectively prevents homelessness, and we look forward to being a part of this progressive initiative,” said Erin Burud, Attorney in Charge of Legal Services of the Hudson Valley’s Kingston office.
“Access to legal services is an essential aspect of ensuring that vulnerable Kingston families can exercise their housing rights with respect to illegal rent increases, lack of basic services, or eviction proceedings. This program will ensure that Kingston tenants have access to the fair representation they deserve,” said Bartek Starodaj, Director of Housing Initiatives.
The City of Kingston has allocated $500,000 of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to support the Right to Counsel Program. More information about utilizing these legal services is available at www.EngageKingston.com/right-to-counsel.
Mayor Noble established the Department of Housing Initiatives in 2020 to support housing planning in the City of Kingston. The Department manages housing-related grants, supports the construction of new market-rate and affordable housing, develops policies to protect existing residents, and addresses the connection between housing and sustainability, health, and mobility. The Department also reviews the disposition of city-owned property suitable for housing development and collaborates with local and regional housing organizations. Current projects include implementing city-wide rezoning efforts, short-term rental guidelines and many more. Visit https://kingston-ny.gov/housing.