Eviction and Homelessness Prevention in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis
December 2, 2020
The global coronavirus has brought uncertainty and anxiety into people’s lives, workplaces, and neighborhoods, particularly for those who work to improve the health of our communities.
During this difficult time, many organizations across New York State are working tirelessly to keep people safe, especially the most vulnerable. In response, NYHealth is supporting statewide and local efforts to address emerging health care and public health needs in the wake of the pandemic. In 2020, NYHealth awarded the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County (VLP) a grant to prevent evictions and homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under this grant, VLP provided virtual advocacy for and legal services and representation to low- and moderate-income residents of Syracuse, many of whom had experienced job losses during the pandemic. VLP offered free legal services to tenants facing eviction to help them remain in safe and stable housing. It worked with the courts and community partner agencies to connect with tenants and help them resolve disputes with landlords without requiring a court appearance. If a court appearance was required, VLP provided tenants with free legal representation to prevent the eviction and/or reduce the amount owed. Tenants were connected to other financial and social services that they needed to remain stable in their homes.