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More New Yorkers could qualify for free housing court lawyers

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Plus, Amazon considers acquiring Fifth Avenue’s Lord & Taylor building (currently owned by WeWork)—and more intel in today’s New York Minute news roundup

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Free legal services to tenants in housing courts could be expanded

Last year, evictions decreased by almost 20 percent in sections of New York City covered by the 2017 Right to Counsel law, which provides free legal services to low-income tenants in housing court, The City reports. According to an analysis by nonprofit Community Service Society (CSS), during the program’s first two years, evictions in the 20 zip codes covered by the program dropped by 29 percent. And by 2022, the program is expected to expand citywide.

“Our findings show that the right to counsel law is an effective strategy for empowering tenants and addressing housing insecurity,” Oksana Mironova, housing policy analyst at CSS, told The City.

But the program is currently only available to households at 200 percent the federal poverty level, or $26,000/year for a single adult, therefore a full-time worker earning $15/hour minimum wage wouldn’t qualify. And given the city’s high cost of living, CSS’s analysis says, moderate-income households, are vulnerable to eviction and housing instability as well.

Now, City Council members Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson are sponsoring a bill to expand the program’s income eligibility to 400 percent of the poverty level.

And in other news...

  • NYC condo architects are designing discreet or “secret” entrances to buildings.
  • South Street Seaport’s Bridge Cafe was severely damaged after Hurricane Sandy, and has remained closed since—but its owner is now planning to bring the historic bar back to life.
  • Wondering what in the world is happening with congestion pricing? Here are some answers.
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio offered to save Coney Island’s Lola Star gift shop from eviction.
  • NYC Transit President Andy Byford had quite the send-off on his last day.
  • The city’s recently proposed property tax overhaul faces several obstacles.
  • Amazon is reportedly considering acquiring Fifth Avenue’s Lord & Taylor building, currently owned by WeWork.
  • A fight over parking on a Tribeca street.
  • The recent, unprecedented 200 Amsterdam ruling may affect the development’s financing.
  • And, finally, NYC bodegas do TikTok (and it’s as wholesome as you’d expect):