Gina Bull

  • Hosted by Center for Family Representation
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school New York University School of Law
  • Issue area Family Law
  • Fellowship class year 2019
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Gina sought to ensure, through representation in Family Court, Housing Court, and administrative hearings, that indigent parents in Manhattan do not lose custody of their children due to housing instability.

In New York City, allegations of child neglect or abuse that trigger a child-protective proceeding are often inseparable from the overwhelmingly Black and brown families’ experience of poverty, homelessness, or unstable housing. Homelessness or precarious housing can further create significant obstacles to a family’s ability to comply with court-mandated services and contribute stress exacerbating other problems at the heart of the child-protective case. Conversely, studies show that receiving housing-related services increases a family’s chance of reunification and decreases the incidence of repeat involvement in the family regulation system. Few families receive housing support at this pivotal time of intervention, feeding a pernicious cycle that separates children from their parents without addressing the underlying issue of housing instability.

Fellowship Highlights

During her two-year Fellowship, Gina:

  • Represented 40 clients in 60 cases in Family Court abuse or neglect and/or custody proceedings, most of whom had unstable or inadequate housing which affected their Family Court case or their ability to reunify with their children, as well as providing these clients with advice and support in housing matters and full representation to 10 of them in housing court or administrative proceedings
  • Provided advice to over 120 clients in housing and benefit matters, including 23 clients provided more extensive administrative advocacy, as well as represented 13 clients in housing court or administrative proceedings
  • Obtained a transfer for a client to a new NYCHA apartment after bringing an HP action in Housing Court where severe disrepair contributed to one child’s placement in foster care and subsequently won a hearing for the children to return home
  • Secured favorable settlements in neglect/abuse cases including the withdrawal of seven cases, three of which were withdrawn after I filed motions to dismiss, and three adjournments-in-contemplation-of-dismissal
  • Successfully settled two NYCHA termination of tenancy proceedings and one housing court eviction case, allowing these families to stay in their home in a very difficult period in their lives

Next Steps

The Center for Family Representation secured funding to allow Gina to sustain the project after the conclusion of her fellowship. Gina will continue to represent parents facing allegations of child abuse or neglect in family court while also providing advice and representation in housing and public benefits matters.

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