Bushwick’s low-income tenants will be getting much needed support from the city—right on their doorstep.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that his office will be spending $1 million to bolster the Tenant Support Unit (TSU), a team that goes door-to-door to reach out to low-income residents facing eviction and landlord harassment.
The plan is to create an additional 15-person TSU team to help tenants in neighborhoods spanning 10 ZIP codes, including Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Jamaica. The team aims to notify more residents of their right to free representation under a new city law that provides universal access to legal support.
That support includes a ten-fold increase in free legal services for tenants—totaling $62 million—that will be fully implemented this year.
TSU specialists knock on doors to inform tenants of their rights, document and manage issues related to harassment, repairs, and eviction. Part of the $1 million boost will also fund a multilingual ad campaign in these neighborhoods to ensure tenants are aware of their new right.
According to Councilman Rafael Espinal, who represents parts of Bushwick, dealing with tenant-landlord issues takes up much of his office’s time and ranks among the top complaints of local residents.
The TSU, created in July 2015, is part of de Blasio’s multi-pronged approach to battle displacement, which has decreased 24 percent since his administration took office, according to a city hall press release.
Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday that the TSU has resolved 4,500 cases and helped more than 14,000 tenants in fast changing neighborhoods stay in their homes.