Last week, state Attorney General Letitia James and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced the “Protect Our Homes” initiative, which was launched in January to educate New Yorkers about deed theft and housing scams, will now also support tenants threatened with illegal evictions.
“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are on the verge of an acute housing crisis in New York,” James said in a statement. “Longtime homeowners in New York City were already grappling with deed theft fraud, and economically challenged renters will soon be facing evictions.”
“Protect Our Homes” kicked off in January with the formation of an interagency task force to focus on homeowner fraud issues. The task force included the district attorneys from the five boroughs and the New York City Sheriff’s Office.
The group met last Thursday with The Legal Aid Society, Legal Services NYC and other eviction prevention service providers to discuss issues affecting renters. With the eviction moratorium ending in August, New Yorkers who lost their jobs and income during the pandemic are now at risk of losing their homes as well.
The task force will review complaints about illegal evictions and take appropriate action as needed, the attorney general’s office said.
They will also educate renters facing eviction about their rights and connect them to lawyers through the city’s Right to Counsel law.
“The impending housing crisis in Brooklyn will have devastating effects on our community,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “We must do everything in our power to protect homeowners and renters from unscrupulous actors.”