New feature: Customize your PLUS research experience with My Preferences. Learn more.
Skip to main content

Housing Law for Low-Income Communities in New York City 2020


Speaker(s): Andrew Sy, Leah Goodridge, Lucy Newman, Melissa Renwick, Nakeeb Siddique
Recorded on: Sep. 30, 2020
PLI Program #: 278256

Andrew Sy is the Supervising Attorney of Housing Related Government Benefits in The Legal Aid Society’s Staten Island Neighborhood Office where he advises staff with public benefits issues that occur within the practice of housing law. He previously worked as a housing Staff Attorney within the same office. He earned his B.S. from the CUNY New York City College of Technology and his J.D. from The CUNY School of Law.


Melissa Renwick is the Senior Advisor to the Executive Vice President for Leased Housing at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). She works to provide safe, affordable housing to low-income New Yorkers through NYCHA’s Section 8 Program.  From 2010-2019, Melissa was a litigator in NYCHA’s Appeals Division where she represented NYCHA in New York state court proceedings, including matters in the Supreme Court, Appellate Term, Appellate Division and Court of Appeals.  Prior to joining NYCHA, Melissa practiced as a U.S. litigation associate at Linklaters LLP. 


Nakeeb Siddique is the Director of Housing for The Legal Aid Society’s Brooklyn Neighborhood Office.  He primarily defends tenants in eviction proceedings in Brooklyn, where he also grew-up.  Nakeeb started with The Legal Aid Society as a Staff Attorney in 2011 and became a Supervising Attorney in 2016.  He was previously a litigation associate at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, LLP and was a law clerk from 2006 to 2008 to the Honorable Deborah A. Batts, United States District Judge, Southern District of New York.  Nakeeb graduated from Swarthmore College in 2001, and from Fordham University School of Law in 2006.    


Leah Goodridge is a litigator and educator with over a decade of experience in community empowerment, housing rights and racial justice.  Currently Leah serves as Supervising Attorney of the Housing Project at Mobilization for Justice.  There, she leads a team of paralegals and attorneys which provide legal representation to tenants in eviction and administrative proceedings.  Leah has a wide range of litigation experience, including several published decisions and arguing before the New York State Court of Appeals.  

In 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Leah to serve as the tenant representative on the New York City Rent Guidelines Board.  Working alongside coalitions, tenant organizers and elected officials, Leah works to achieve affordable rent for tenants across the city.  In 2020, her advocacy efforts led to a historic rent freeze for two year leases.

Leah began her career as a journalist at the National Urban League, covering civil rights violations. After law school, Leah launched the Community Economic Development Project at Medgar Evers College (City University of New York) to teach executive leadership to emerging nonprofit entrepreneurs in communities of color.  She is a frequent guest speaker on housing justice at universities including the University of Malta, McGill University Faculty of Law and Duke University.  Her honors and accolades include the 2019 New York County Lawyers Association Public Service Award, 2018 New York Nonprofit Media 40 under 40 Rising Star award, the 2015 Fulbright Specialist award and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Earl Warren Scholarship.  She received her J.D. with a specialization in Critical Race Theory from University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law and her B.A. from Vassar College.  Leah is a native of Brownsville, Brooklyn. 


Lucy Newman is a Staff Attorney in the Law Reform Unit of The Legal Aid Society’s Civil Practice.  Lucy represents public housing residents and Section 8 participants in administrative proceedings at NYCHA and City, State and federal court proceedings.  She also represents Legal Aid in meetings with city-wide public housing groups and works on affirmative law reform housing issues.  From 2005-2011 Lucy was a Staff Attorney in the Housing Law Unit of Legal Aid’s Bronx Neighborhood Office where she represented individual tenants in nonpayment and holdover proceedings in Bronx Housing Court.