Housing Justice in the Pandemic Age: Recommendations for Safe and Effective Courts During COVID-19

This brief outlines recommendations to inform the “reopening” of New York City housing courts, a term we will use to describe the incremental process of reopening court buildings, permitting new eviction filings, expanding the courts’ dockets, and other aspects of returning to full operations. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected both the day-to-day operations of housing courts and, through widespread job loss, sickness, and death, the economic forces that ultimately drive the court’s caseload. Housing court buildings temporarily shuttered pursuant to Governor Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” executive order, and a combination of executive orders and directives from within the court system have limited the courts’ activities since March.

Maia Cole, Eliza Ezrapour, Jaden Powell, and Christopher Shenton contributed to the research for this brief.