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New Yorkers demand rent suspension

By Jessica Schwartz |
March 26, 2020
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New York, NY - Due to the rising unemployment rate, New Yorkers are struggling financially. Some measures have been taken to help homeowners, as well as those going through eviction proceedings. An indefinite moratorium has been placed on evictions, and Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted a 90-day suspension on mortgages. The governor has even gone on to say that through these actions, he has “taken care of the rent issue.”

However, this does not go far enough in helping the working class and poor hit hardest by the crisis. A recent survey by Property Nest found that 39% of New Yorkers won’t be able to pay rent if put out of work due to the coronavirus outbreak. The working class mostly lives paycheck to paycheck, making saving for rent difficult. This is why various housing advocates, organizations and some public officials are calling for a rent suspension.

On March 19, State Senator Mike Gianaris proposed a bill for rent relief. He and a total of 16 senators then co-sponsored Senate Bill S8125, which would grant a 90-day rent suspension for certain residential tenants and small business commercial tenants. As of now, the bill is in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Governor Cuomo has yet to publicly address the matter, potentially because it is more in his interests to protect homeowners over tenants.

Despite the restrictions enacted against public gatherings and leaving their homes, various organizations have been active in demanding rent suspension. Housing Justice for All has been circulating an online petition that you can sign here, as well as The Right to Counsel NYC Coalition’s here. New York Community Action Project (NYCAP) has called for a daily call-in from noon to 1 p.m. to Governor Cuomo’s office at 518-474-8390 until he passes S8125. For more information about the call-in and how to get involved with NYCAP, visit their Facebook here or contact them at [email protected].