Where do they go from here? Literally.
New York State’s eviction moratorium expired last week giving many residents the chance to be on the outside looking in at what used to be theirs.
According to a report by Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel, as of December, the average apartment rent in Manhattan is $4,440. The median rose to $3,392.
Last week, on Jan. 15, the eviction mortarium expired, which could push people out of their homes and leave many across the state at risk of eviction.
While Hochul said she’d sign a bill with other governors asking for rental assistance, she made herself clear last week. “What we want to do is let people know that that is concluding very shortly,” Hochul said. “I’m having conversations with the legislature on what to do on this issue, but there’s also another option, reopening the [relief] portal.”
The governor’s actions have drawn the ire of groups such as the New York Progressive Action Network/Our Revolution. In an email to constituents, the organization outlined why they think Hochul screwed up by not supporting the Good Cause Eviction (S.3082).
“It is irresponsible and harmful to leave New Yorkers in the cold due to a lack of effective policies,” read one part of the email. “Losing one’s home is always a destabilizing event. It can lead to even further problems not only for the individuals who lose their homes but also for the community at large. We expect our representatives to work toward solutions that prevent homelessness and invest in our communities. We ask that the moratorium be re-established.”
Sponsored by New York State Senator Julia Salazar, the Good Cause Eviction bill states, “The purpose of this legislation is to prohibit the eviction of residential tenants or the non-renewal of residential leases without good cause.”
Anticipating the flood of applications, New York State’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance reopened their portal to let people apply for emergency rental assistance.
Joseph Loonam, housing campaign coordinator for VOCAL-NY, said that Hochul will regret the past several days.
“We are outraged that Gov. Hochul will allow the eviction moratorium to expire on Saturday,” said Loonam in an email. “The lack of action will lead to the evictions of thousands of New Yorkers, many of whom will enter state run shelters that are overcrowded, understaffed, and wildly expensive for taxpayers. It has been our sincere hope that Gov. Hochul would show more concern for housing insecure New Yorkers than her predecessor, but by letting this moratorium lapse without a plan to replace it, she is proving herself to be even more callous.”
This week, The Legal Aid Society called on Hochul to allocate some of the recently announced budget to providing housing vouchers for the homeless and those at-risk of being homeless via the Homeless Access Voucher Program (HAVP).
“Now that the statewide eviction moratorium has expired, New Yorkers across the state who are behind on their rent face likely homelessness,” stated Judith Goldiner, attorney-in-charge of the civil law reform unit at The Legal Aid Society. “New York’s homelessness crisis was a crisis prior to the pandemic, and that crisis has only exacerbated since March 2020. The Legal Aid Society calls on Gov. Hochul to ensure that these funds are used to secure passage of HAVP to connect homeless New Yorkers to safe, affordable and long term housing.”
Goldiner wasn’t the only one calling for legislation to address the homeless issue; with the advocation of HAVP came the push for the state government to pass Good Cause eviction legislation.
New York City Comptroller Jumaane Williams wasn’t happy with the governor’s action either. He stated that Hochul dropped the ball on the state’s homeless population.
“As the governor demonstrated by allowing the eviction moratorium to expire amid a winter surge and with neither good cause protections nor adequate investment in affordable housing, it has never been more clear that one-time, one-year actions simply do not cut it,” said Williams.