NEW YORK (PIX11) — Several public defender organizations in New York City are calling for $315 million in funding to help them provide legal services for low-income New Yorkers in housing court.

In 2017 New York City passed landmark legislation guaranteeing low-income tenants free legal representation in housing court. However, organizations like The Legal Aid Society say they have had to turn away people eligible for their services because they do not have enough attorneys.

“A number of us, Legal Aid included, had to shut down our intake process in order to slow the influx of cases so that we would able to competently handle the clients that we currently represent,” said attorney Munonyedi Clifford.

Legal Aid, Legal Services NYC and New York Legal Assistance Group called on the city to provide $315 million in the next fiscal year budget. “It’s a really crucial time for tenants in the city to have attorneys right now,” Clifford said.

Councilmember Shaun Abreu has been fighting for increased funding for housing court attorneys. “We’re drawing a line in the sand, basically saying that if we don’t get the funding we need for right to counsel, there won’t be a budget that will be just,” Abreu said.

The mayor and City Council are currently in the middle of budget negotiations. The mayor’s office did not immediately return PIX11’s request for comment for this story.