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How We Can Help

1. How can the Office of the Public Advocate help me?
The Office of the Public Advocate has an Ombudsman Services Unit, which assists constituents who have complaints, problems, or inquiries involving government-related services at the City, State, and Federal levels. The unit provides information and referrals and works closely with City agencies to find solutions to problems. Constituents call the Ombudsman Services Unit at (212) 669-7250.

Constituents can also fill out a complaint form or e-mail us at [email protected].
You will be asked to explain your problem and told that you will receive a response in seven business days. The case is then assigned to an ombudsman who specializes in the area of your concern.

2. What information should I have ready when I call the Public Advocate's Office for help?
It is important that you have all the important details of your case, including a chronological history of events, the names and phone numbers of any agencies or elected officials you have contacted, and an account of what they have done for you. The Public Advocate's Office wants to be able to figure out how and why an agency has made a determination. It is highly recommended that you take notes anytime you contact City agencies with a problem.

3. What kind of services does the Office of the Public Advocate offer constituents?

The Public Advocate's Office serves as your advocate in matters involving the city, state or federal government. We help get the services you need and solve the problems you have with city government. In many cases constituents are unaware that a review/appeals process may be possible for their case whether it is a parking ticket or a zoning matter.

4. In which languages do you provide services?

Our office is able to assist callers in virtually any language. We are connected to an interpretation line that enables us to serve all constituents.

5. How do the services offered by your office differ from those offered by 311?
311 is an information and referral line, which allows you to speak with a live operator, who will likely transfer you to a City agency or take down your complaint and forward it to an agency. In the latter case, you are given a tracking number to monitor the follow-up. The 311 system is not equipped to allow for operators to track your case. At the Public Advocate's Office, complaints are handled in a casework fashion by intervening with the City agencies and following up until your complaint is resolved. 311 provides many great services to callers, but our Ombudsmen are trained to solve your complaints with a hands-on approach.