As protests of police killings continue, another civil rights movement is gaining momentum: The right to counsel in eviction proceedings, Newsweek reports. In New York City, some 90 percent of tenants in housing court don't have attorneys, and 90 percent of landlords do. Last year, some 30,000 families were evicted—a 20 percent increase over the last 10 years.
Two New York City council members want to guarantee attorneys for low-income tenants facing eviction. It’s part of a “Civil Gideon”movement to extend the 51-year-old Gideon v. Wainwright case providing attorneys in criminal cases. “By providing a right to counsel in housing cases, New York City would be the first place in the nation to do so and would be taking a groundbreaking and historic step forward,” said John Pollock of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel.