Joint Statement in Response to Council Speaker Adrienne Adams State of the City Address Remarks on Funding for Public Defender, Civil Legal Services Organizations

We applaud Speaker Adrienne Adams for addressing the dire funding crisis plaguing New York City’s public
defender and civil legal services organizations in her State of the City address.

For years, our funding needs have largely been ignored, and now we’re faced with widespread staff attrition and mounting operational costs that threaten our ability to deliver the robust legal representation that millions of New Yorkers rely on each year.

We are talking about New Yorkers who face houselessness, food insecurity, joblessness, incarceration, racist
policing, family separation, and deportation. We are talking about New Yorkers most impacted by the pandemic, by poverty, and other crises affecting the city.

When we are underfunded, it doesn’t just affect us, but the legal rights of every New Yorker. Because of this,
we have successfully fought for years to expand legal counsel and support services to people beyond the legal
system, to prevent system involvement in the first place.

View the full statement here.