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Christopher Helwig

2017, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Christopher Helwig

Christopher Helwig

Name of Host Organization: Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
City, State: New York, New York
Issue area: Housing/Homelessness
Sponsors: Morgan Stanley, Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP

The Project

Improve the lives of low-income elderly, disabled, and chronically ill tenants living in East Harlem public housing by fighting for their right to live in safe and habitable apartments.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
The ongoing crisis in New York City’s public housing threatens the health of thousands of elderly and disabled tenants. Black mold, mice and cockroach infestations are pervasive and horrific problems for many public housing tenants. For tenants with health- or age-related issues, these conditions can be life-threatening. But currently the need for meaningful representation in NYCHA cases far exceeds the legal services resources in New York City.
The Right Person For This Project
Christopher is the right person for the project because he is:
• Dedicated to improving the welfare of New York’s most disadvantaged tenants
• Passionate about fighting to protect all individuals’ right to live well in their home
• And he has spent his law school career buiding the skills to navigate New York housing court.
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship
In the first six months, Christopher will:
• Represent public housing tenants in Supreme Court, housing court, and administrative proceedings
• Coordinate with community organizations and tenant associations to affirmative class and group litigation
• And develop a pro bono clinic where pro bono attorneys will assist tenants in filing housing preservation actions for critically needed repairs.