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The New York City Housing Court Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) Program recruits, trains, and provides Housing Court judges with a pool GALs whose goal is to safeguard the rights and prevent the eviction of tenants with mental, physical, and/or age related disabilities.
The Court often appoints a GAL when there is concern that a tenant is unable to advocate for him or herself mostly due to mental illness or age. Court appointed GALs are expected to advocate on behalf of their ward with the goal of making any necessary interventions to prevent eviction. Although the specific responsibilities of a GAL vary according to the case, common duties often include: making court appearances, coordinating with social service agencies in an effort to secure needed entitlements or services, and negotiating settlements with other parties involved in the case.
All who are interested are encouraged to apply. While most GALs are attorneys, it is not necessary to be an attorney to become a GAL in Housing Court. Yet, having some legal or social services background can be helpful.
Where the ward is also an Adult Protective Services (APS) client, APS will compensate the GAL with a $600 stipend upon completion of the case. Cases where APS is not involved are considered pro-bono and, as such, receive no compensation. Attorneys are provided with a total of 6 CLE credits (5 Practice, 1 Ethics) upon completion of the GAL training.
For more information on the training and application process, please visit our website at:
- Denise Colon-Greenaway
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