Don’t Evict Hundreds of Thousands of People

Target: Kathy Hochul, Governor of New York 

Goal: Extend New York City’s Eviction Moratorium for people facing Covid-related economic hardship.

New York State’s almost two-year-long, Covid-related eviction moratorium ended this week. Now, tenants who owe back rent will be required to make their case in court and apply for remaining protections, or risk losing their homes.

Governor Kathy Hochul has revoked this desperately needed guarantee, safeguarding residents’ right to housing, in the midst of rising unemployment and crime rates. As of December 2021, New York City’s jobless rate is 9.8%, more than double the national average. In tandem with unstable income comes need and crime, reflected in 2021’s 28% spike in subway assaults, according to data provided by the New York Police Department. Homelessness in the city has also swelled, reaching its highest numbers since the Great Depression of the 30s (as reported by Coalition for the Homeless). 

The pause on evictions was initially passed as a temporary solution to a, then, temporary problem. However, as the pandemic becomes our new reality, future-facing support must be sown before the ban is lifted. For example, the fund for New York’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (a program meant to make payments to landlords on behalf of tenants) is still dry and not accepting applicants until replenished. Other rental assistance programs are backlogged with applicants–some saying it has taken upwards of five months to hear a response. Additionally, the number of homeless sleeping in shelters is up 16% from 2011 (according to CH) while across the state 600,000 households owe back rent (according to National Equity Atlas). With all things considered, the lifting of the eviction pause has dangerous consequences, like the overburdening of the shelter system.

Tell New York State lawmakers to readdress their rental assistance programs, re-determine good causes for evictions, and sufficiently tackle the homelessness epidemic before allowing evictions again. 

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Hochul, 

We demand that you reinstate New York’s Eviction Moratorium and protect the vulnerable from losing their homes. 

Lack of affordable housing is the number one cause of homelessness in New York City and, with an already overpopulated shelter system, we risk creating an unmanageable housing crisis. With a lack of adequate rental assistance programs or legal safeguards to secure housing for the 600,000 people statewide facing eviction, the state is at a precipice. 

The state is not yet prepared to allow for a lift from the eviction ban. Abide by the right to secure housing.  

Sincerely, 

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Sekwanele 2


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