Here you can read the latest press from all of our Projects, and find out about the tremendous work we’re doing every day.

Each of these stories represents lives changed for the better, and we are so proud of our staff for their dedication to the people they serve.

Growing calls to legalize U.S. street vendors post pandemic

May 5th, 2021|


In New York City, street vendor policy had been stuck since the 1980s, when officials capped permits at about 3,000 despite demand from at least 12,000 vendors, said Mohamed Attia, head of the nonprofit Urban Justice Center’s Street Vendor Project.

How Rikers Island Became a Vehicle for Justice (Once It Started Shutting Down)

May 3rd, 2021|


In 2016, Pastoressa joined a small but rapidly growing group of advocates, including formerly incarcerated people and their families, in calling for the complete closure of the Rikers Island jail complex. Soon after, she became a leader in the movement to close Rikers, and later one of the founding members of Freedom Agenda, a project of the Urban Justice Center helping to organize the fight to dismantle New York City’s unjust incarceration system

4 Ways the Next Mayor and City Council Must Do Better on Street and Subway Homelessness

April 27th, 2021|

Gotham Gazette

The Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center acquired the reasons for the rejections via the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). The results were appalling, and showed the extent to which the Department of Social Services (DSS) and Department of Homeless Services (DHS) take a hands-off approach to the supportive housing application process. People were rejected because of their mental illness, the very reason supportive housing would likely have been a great fit in the first place.

Old friends disrupt notions of gender in ‘The Journey of Monalisa’

April 15th, 2021|

Chicago Sun Times

When Iván Monalisa Ojeda got to New York City, Monalisa was born. A natural poet, 53-year-old Ojeda describes the feeling of being two-spirit, or gender non-conforming, as something that could only happen once he’d been freed from the homophobia of Chile in the 1990s. “Monalisa was born here,” Ojeda says in Spanish after filling out an intake form at Urban Justice Center in Manhattan, which will help him with resources and seeking citizenship

Newly Public Jail Disciplinary Records Reveal Repeat Use-Of-Force Violations With Few Consequences

April 12th, 2021|


“The 50-a data shows that the so-called reforms at DOC is just rhetoric,” said Darren Mack, a co-director of Freedom Agenda at Urban Justice Center. “And it's evidence of what advocates and survivors of Rikers already knew. That the brutality and violence will not be eliminated until there’s a total dismantling of DOC.”

Immigrant street vendors hustling to survive the pandemic

April 10th, 2021|

Yahoo! News

"Street vendors are the smallest businesses you can find in New York City. They are a real picture of what the American dream should look like for all immigrants who come to this country to try to start their own small businesses," said Mohamed Attia, who represents food cart workers in New York City through the Urban Justice Center's Street Vendor Project.