Albany, NY— For the seventh month, tenants across New York are fearing losing their homes during the pandemic. Today, tenants and housing rights advocates with Citizen Action of New York, New York State Poor People’s Campaign, United Tenants of Albany, VOCAL-NY and Capital District DSA, held an eviction defense rally outside the Capitol to demand an end to all evictions for the duration of the pandemic. Advocates blocked the Washington Avenue entrance to the Capitol with moving boxes and furniture to demonstrate the dehumanizing nature of evictions.
Nearly 2 million New Yorkers are behind on rent. New York must pass a comprehensive eviction ban to avoid a dramatic increase in homelessness in our state. Currently, 92,000 New Yorkers are without permanent housing. Despite the violent nature of evictions, housing courts are set to move with proceedings. Evictions are more likely to be carried out against Black, Brown and low-income tenants.
“Evictions are violent, and kicking so many of our families and neighbors out of their homes, especially during the worst pandemic any of us have seen, means people will die. If our leaders allow that to happen, they will have blood on their hands,” said Gabriel Silva, Citizen Action Community Organizer. “Winter is coming. What do they expect the 1.5 millions New Yorkers who are getting kicked out of their homes to do? Freeze to death? But, apparently, that’s okay as long as the richer get a little richer. That’s unconscionable.”
Governor Cuomo has insisted that he has taken care of renters, but the eviction moratorium was always a half-baked measure, and the extensions only delayed the evitable wave of evictions. The end of the eviction ban allows for tenants to be brought to court in eviction proceedings, and allows for previous and new evictions to be carried out throughout the state.
“Vulnerable people need relief and security now—it’s past time for the legislature to cancel the rent and impose a clear and comprehensive eviction moratorium for the duration of this crisis. Without these measures, we can be sure that thousands will be pushed out of their homes and many will die unnecessarily. We need moral leadership and action, and we need it yesterday,” said Rev. Joe Paparone, Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State.
“Starting today, waves of evictions will violently force families into overcrowded shelters, to be torn apart, and to be left to live on the streets,” said James Norfleet, VOCAL-Albany Member. “Undocumented individuals, gig workers, and others facing evictions for no-fault cases will be left without ANY protections, facing the brunt of this harsh reality as we still do not have Good Cause Eviction here in New York State. We will not be fooled by political ploys and we know we deserve; and thus demand, a REAL moratorium on evictions in New York State!”