Tenant Advocates Rally Outside Brooklyn Housing Court To Stop Evictions During Pandemic

source https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/12/11/tenant-advocates-rally-brookly-housing-court-eviction-moratorium/

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Evictions in New York were supposed to be put on hold until the end of the year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but some tenant advocates say that’s not happening.

Demonstrators were outside Brooklyn Housing Court on Friday demanding an extension to the state’s eviction moratorium, CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reported Friday.

“People in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, working class people, Black people, Latinos, are the ones who bore the brunt of this pandemic, are the ones who are the essential workers, and are the ones who are now going to be assaulted by evictions and massive unemployment that’s only going to get bigger and bigger,” one demonstrator said.

The advocates say evictions have resumed, despite the pause and that some people just don’t have the money to pay rent.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, I lost all three of my jobs that I had, and really just tried to find ways to make it work,” said Roland Lane, a Crown Heights resident.

Meanwhile, there are landlords of all sizes feeling the pinch. Some have gone months without collecting rent.

“If you’re telling building owners that they have to pay their property taxes, but they have no money coming in from rent, it’s going to be very difficult for owners to make that happen,” said Vito Signorile, VP of the Rent Stabilization Association.

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The Rent Stabilization Association represents more than 25,000 landlords in New York City. Signorile said one way to help is to give tenants money specifically for rent.

“When tenants pay rent, building owner can pay their expenses. Provide rental subsidies that give the tenants the money they need to pay their rent, and they can pay their rental obligations to property owners,” he said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio offered his own suggestion: a program set up by Albany that would allow for a payment plan.

“Giving tenants the security they can stay in their apartment, giving landlords the security that eventually they’ll be made whole. We need a structure like that,” de Blasio said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he might reopen the emergency assistance program, which was set up over the summer. Of the $100 million in CARES Act funding set aside for the program, $60 million went unused and will expire at the end of the year.

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