Albany, NY— In response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s latest extension of New York’s full eviction moratorium, which delays evictions in New York until August 5, Ivette Alfonso, President of Citizen Action of New York released the following statement:

“Governor Cuomo and state legislative leaders are failing to protect tens of thousands of New Yorkers facing evictions during this pandemic. We’re calling on them to meet our demands to house the homeless, cancel rent and pass a full eviction moratorium. Extending the moratorium until next month gives us time to stop these violent evictions from being enforced. Carried out by police, evictions disproportionately impact communities of color and can cause long-term instability. Instead of helping everyday New Yorkers who are out of work due to no fault of their own, state leaders passed the Tenants Safe Harbor Act, which provides zero relief to those hit hardest by the pandemic.”

Background
Millions of people are still without jobs and cannot afford to pay the back rent they accumulated while out of work. The full eviction moratorium in New York State was set to end on July 7, but was extended until August 5. With tens of thousands of tenants unable to pay rent because they do not have jobs or steady incomes due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will inevitably be a surge in evictions. Join us for a Facebook Live press conference and teach-in today at 12 p.m. RSVP to the Facebook Event here!

The Emergency Housing Stability and Displacement Prevention Act, sponsored by Sen. Zellnor Myrie, would prohibit all eviction proceedings in New York State at least until the end of the pandemic (S.8667). This is far more effective than Governor Cuomo’s executive order, which provides no protection against no-fault evictions. During a national reckoning with police brutality, this bill protects tenants from the very violent, police-executed process of being evicted. Enacting this bill also gives tenants the ability to safely hold property owners accountable for abusive living conditions without threat of eviction and homelessness.

The Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, (bill number coming soon) excuses all rent and mortgage payments from March of 2020 until 90 days after the end of the declared state of emergency in NY. It offers assistance to property owners and banks who experience financial distress, with the understanding that, should assistance be accepted, tenants will not be evicted without good cause for five subsequent years. The Cancel Rent bill shifts the burden off of tenants, who possess the least access to financial safety nets, and moves it towards those who have the most: property owners. During this economic crisis when so many have lost their jobs or cannot safely work, asking for rent and mortgage payments is unconscionable.

The Housing Access Voucher Program would allow those experiencing homelessness and those facing immediate loss of their homes access to housing (S.7628A). Should an individual or family be eligible, the vouchers would be in place for at least one year. The property owners to whom the rent assistance is paid via the vouchers would agree not to evict said tenants without good cause. This bill simultaneously begins to solve homelessness while also providing a safety net for those facing eviction.