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Housing Law for Low-Income Communities in New York City 2021


Speaker(s): Amber Marshall, Cristina Quiñones-Betancourt, Kat Meyers, Melissa Renwick, Munonyedi M. Clifford
Recorded on: Sep. 24, 2021
PLI Program #: 306121

Amber Marshall joined The Legal Aid Society’s Bronx Neighborhood Housing Unit in January 2015. As a staff attorney in the Housing Unit, she represents low and moderate income individuals in Housing and Supreme Court. While on sabbatical from The Legal Aid Society (2019-20), Ms. Marshall served as Associate Counsel to the New York State Senate Democratic Conference for the Housing, Construction & Community Development and Aging Committees. Prior to joining The Legal Aid Society, Ms. Marshall worked for a small firm in Upstate New York. 


Cristina Quiñones-Betancourt is a Supervising Attorney in Mobilization for Justice, Inc.’s Housing Unit.   Before becoming a supervisor, Ms. Quiñones-Betancourt was a Staff Attorney at MFJ, representing tenants in state and federal courts and in administrative proceedings.  As a result of her successful advocacy on behalf of her clients, Ms. Quiñones-Betancourt has had decisions published in the New York Law Journal and New York Official Reports.  Prior to joining MFJ, Ms. Quiñones-Betancourt was a litigation associate at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP where, in addition to completing a six-month secondment at MFJ (then known as MFY Legal Services), she maintained a varied practice that included complex commercial and securities litigation, internal investigations, and pro bono matters.  Prior to becoming a supervisor, Ms. Quiñones-Betancourt clerked for the Honorable Katharine H. Parker in the Southern District of New York.  Ms. Quiñones-Betancourt is a 2014 graduate of Cornell Law School.


I attended the State University of New York College at Potsdam where I majored in Archaeology and Criminal Justice.  I attended Vermont Law School where I graduated cum laude and was a member of the Vermont Law Review.  I started my legal career as a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society in the housing unit.  In 2016, I became the supervisor of the Expanded Legal Services Project (ELS) at the Harlem Community Law Office of the Legal Aid Society. ELS became what is now the Right to Counsel or Universal Access Program.  In 2018 I became a Deputy Director of the Housing Rights unit at Queens Legal Services.  I am currently the Director of the Tenant Defense housing team at the Harlem Community Law Office of the Legal Aid Society.


Kat Meyers is a staff attorney in the Civil Practice Housing Justice Unit in which she focuses on representing tenants in housing court. 

Prior to her current position, she was a staff attorney in the Law Reform Unit, working on housing law and policy.  Kat was also an attorney with the Tenant Rights Coalition in which she represented tenant associations in affirmative litigation.  Throughout her career, she has focused on housing and government benefits issues with respect to housing subsidies.

As a member of the “FHEPS Team” at The Legal Aid Society, Kat has advised service providers across the city on the rent subsidy program, advocated with City and State entities, and participated in class action litigation to address inequities in the subsidy guidelines.

Kat received her B.A. from the Gallatin School at New York University and her J.D. from City University of New York 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.