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Brooklyn A Launches the Preserving Affordable Housing Queens Program

Dear friends,

I am delighted to announce that Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A will be expanding its Preserving Affordable Housing program into Queens starting this month. The Preserving Affordable Housing Queens program will have its own dedicated housing staff and officially opens its doors July 1, 2024. We are excited to join forces with the other Right To Counsel (RTC) legal service providers working in Queens in partnership with the NYS Office of Court Administration and the NYC Office of Civil Justice in furthering the implementation of Right to Counsel in housing court in the borough and city at large.

This is the first time we have extended our tenant housing practice services outside of Brooklyn and marks an exciting new chapter for our organization. The attorneys, social workers, paralegals and other program staff at Brooklyn A have remained unwavering in their commitment to preserve the housing of our clients and to address displacement, systemic racism, and gentrification. We believe tenants deserve the right to healthy, safe and affordable housing and for their families and communities to have stability. We have remained dedicated to that mission throughout our own half-century history of serving tenants in Brooklyn, and in recent years our staff has risen to the challenge of the ongoing affordable housing crisis. We are proud that our services will now reach more New Yorkers in need.

Left to right: Ndukwe Agwu, Chief Legal Officer; Jessica Rose, Executive Director; Tiffany Femiano, Preserving Affordable Housing Queens Program Director.

With a homeownership rate of about 45 percent, Queens doesn’t see the same volume of evictions as the Bronx or Brooklyn, but renters today still face the same city-wide pressures. As of February, Queens saw the highest year-over-year increase in median rent of any borough, jumping to just under $3,000, according to analysis from StreetEasy. As the borough has become more popular, the stock of affordable units has fallen dramatically, and the vacancy rate in Queens was below one percent in 2023. These conditions add urgency to Brooklyn A’s work preventing displacement since relocation has become incredibly difficult. We aim to keep Queens tenants in their neighborhoods in the face of economic pressures outside of their control.

Like our Preserving Affordable Housing Brooklyn program, our work in Queens will offer services for eviction defense, combatting tenant harassment and discrimination, assistance restoring housing subsidies and securing emergency rental assistance, and demanding safe housing conditions. The Preserving Affordable Housing Queens program will conduct intake at Queens housing court and cases will be assigned by the NYC Office of Civil Justice and through court referrals. Our office is located in the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation’s co-working facility at 89-14 Parsons Blvd. Jamaica, NY 11432 and you can contact the Queens team using [email protected] or 718-487-2300.

I am excited to introduce the inaugural members of the PAH Queens program:

Tiffany Femiano, Esq. – Program Director

Tiffany is an experienced litigator who has represented hundreds of tenants across four boroughs, including Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens. She has practiced at Ween & Kozek, Queens Legal Services, The Bronx Defenders and, most recently, Mobilization for Justice. Tiffany has engaged in affirmative litigation and eviction defense on behalf of tenants at administrative agencies, as well as in Civil, Housing, and Supreme Courts. Tiffany has participated in dozens of hearings, trials, and depositions, as well as engaged in complex pre-trial litigation leading to the publication of several decisions in the New York Law Journal and the New York Official Reports. Tiffany graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center.

Neha Chopra – Senior Staff Attorney

Before joining Brooklyn A’s Preserving Affordable Housing Brooklyn program team two years ago, Neha worked in both real estate and immigration law. She previously worked for Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP with a specialization in transactions for Cooperatives and Condominiums in NYC, as well as assisting with residential transactional buys/sales and leases for Borah, Goldstein, Altschuler, Nahins & Goidel, PC, and worked on a variety of real estate related cases including representing the bank/buyers/sellers and reviewing title reports for Frank N Mavroudis, PC. Neha has an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland and a JD from Hofstra University Law School.

Stefanos Moutafidis – Staff Attorney

Stefanos joined the Preserving Affordable Housing Brooklyn in 2021 as a Pro Bono Scholar and became a Staff Attorney in June of that year. Prior to joining Brooklyn A, and graduating law school, Stefanos worked for several other landlord-tenant organizations in counseling and advocacy roles. Stefanos has an undergraduate degree from Hunter College and a JD from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Emmy Caminero – Paralegal

Since 2022, Emmy has worked as a Data & Intake Associate for Brooklyn A’s Community & Economic Development (CED) Program. Prior to joining Brooklyn A, Emmy worked as an Assistant Business Manager for an NYC-based production company where she managed financial transactions and accounts payable and receivables and coordinated special events. She also worked as a legal assistant at the law office of Sunil Khurana, working primarily on immigration cases.

The team will have one additional attorney starting in July. Please refer back to this announcement for updates.

Congratulations to our new Preserving Affordable Housing Queens team! I know you will continue Brooklyn A’s remarkable legacy of tenant work in “The World’s Borough.”

Sincerely,

Jessica Rose, Esq.
Executive Director
Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A

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