Marcus is 34-year-old veteran of the Iraq War. His only source of income is public assistance. He was homeless but had been granted a Section 8 housing subsidy through a federal program that combines rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). When Marcus’ landlord sued him in Housing Court for nonpayment of rent, his VA case manager referred him to NYLAG supervising attorney Kevin Kenneally, who staffs NYLAG’s legal clinics at two New York VA hospitals. Kenneally discovered that the share of the Section 8 rent Marcus was expected to pay was too high. NYC’s Housing Authority (NYCHA) had not updated their records when Marcus notified them that his income had changed when a temporary job ended several months earlier. Kenneally represented him in Housing Court (an intimidating and chaotic place where landlords almost always have attorneys and tenants rarely have legal representation), and subpoenaed NYCHA to appear. He delayed the case in Housing Court by arguing that the tenant’s Section 8 was incorrect and must be fixed before entering into a settlement for the arrears. Four months later, NYCHA lowered Marcus’ Section 8 share to the correct amount and issued retroactive payments, while the remainder of the arrears was later paid for by a city grant to prevent homelessness. With Kenneally’s help, Marcus preserved his Section 8 voucher and was able to stay in his apartment.
- Change the lives of low-income New Yorkers