Following the recent Supreme Court decisions striking down the NY State and Federal eviction moratoriums, faith leaders across denomination call on Governor Hochul, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Carl Heastie to immediately reconvene the state legislature to amend and extend the eviction moratorium.
Elected Officials, NYC Eviction Marshals and Sheriffs Upstate Who Perform Evictions, and Officers of the New York Police Department,
We, clergy and lay leaders of the many faith communities of the City and State of New York, are imploring you to stop every eviction and eviction case in New York State through the end of June 2022—and to enact a permanent ban on winter evictions.
You are indeed aware that the pandemic has wrought extreme hardship on hundreds of thousands of our neighbors, with at least 830,000 tenant households (representing millions of people) statewide having fallen behind in their rent. We are on the precipice of mass eviction and mass homelessness. New York residents face losing their homes.
Surely you can recognize your responsibility and refuse to collaborate in the unjust and brutal action of evicting children, women, men—human beings, all made in the image of the divine—from their homes.
Will you live up to that calling? We are united in our faith commitment to love and care for our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable. And it is in that spirit that we appeal to you now.
Our neighbors have lost loved ones, have become unemployed and are still recovering from the COVID pandemic. ICUs are again filling up with the sick. And we have long failed to provide shelter to all those who are still unhoused and face daily economic terror.
Tenants in our city and state are more than $3.2 billion behind on rent. There are currently more than 225,000 eviction cases pending in New York State’s courts; at least 1.2 million tenant households statewide are not able to pay rent. Even before the pandemic and the collapse of the economy, half of tenants in the city and the state could not afford rent.
Undocumented workers and people of color have borne the brunt of the pandemic and the economic crisis, and are also most likely to be behind on rent and at risk of eviction. The threat of eviction is everywhere, particularly after the Supreme Court elevated private property over human lives, striking down New York’s last eviction ban and casting untold thousands into the eviction court system, with its many traps, loopholes, and grey areas: allowing landlords to evict even the most vulnerable.
But you can stop every eviction. It is imperative that you act. You probably have members of your own families who share in this predicament. Members of our congregations are certainly facing homelessness if the eviction moratorium is not renewed and expanded.
These are hard times and the path out of this crisis should not be borne alone by those least able to afford it. Pandemic rent debt must be paid by the State and automatically forgiven, and the eviction court dockets must be cleared of cases.
The $2.7 billion dollars New York State allocated as “rent relief” is disastrously delayed and remains inaccessible to all but a few of the 170,000 tenant households who have applied for it—to say nothing of the millions of households who did not know about this program, did not have the documents the State required to qualify, or could not navigate the three-hour application process.
To this end, we appeal to you: Do not assist landlords seeking to evict people from their homes, but instead, stand with the people of this city and state in their time of need. End all evictions and eviction cases in New York State through the end of June 2022—and abolish eviction into the winter streets forever.
We call on Governor Hochul, Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, State Senator Kavanagh, and Assemblymember Dinowitz to immediately call a legislative session to extend and expand a universal eviction ban in New York State through the end of June 2022, and to meet our demands.
We call on all to join us in the streets to resist every eviction.
Cantor Abbe Lyon, Hillel at Ithaca College
Chair Jean Poppei, First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany
Deacon Susan Haney, First Presbyterian Church Albany, NY
Dh. Dennis Bohn, Plum Village Lineage Brooklyn, NY (Buddhist)
Director Angela K Warner, Angela K Warner
Doctor of Ministry James W Walkup, Director of Southern Westchester Marriage Counseling
E. Magalene McClarrin, Memorial Presbyterian Church
Father John P. Duffell, Catholic Church
Father John P. Duffell, Church of the Blessed Sacrament
Father John Patrick Martin, Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers
Father Luis Barrios (Episcopal)
Hon. Rev. Dr. Michael Strong, Strong Families Deliverance Ministries Inc.
Howard W. Henry, Jr., University Presbyterian Church, Buffalo, NY
Imam Khabir John McGeehan, Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi Community
Ivana Edwards, All Souls Unitarian Church
James Coy Sheehan, Catholic Church
James M. Ercolano, Labor Religion Coalition of New York
John Mudd, Executive Director of Midtown South Community Council
Kevin M Nelson, First United Methodist Church, Schenectady, NY
Marc Greenberg, Executive Director, Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing
Mary Smith, Church Women United in New York State
Minister Chibueze Okorie, Church of Gethsemane (PCUSA)
Minister LaKisha N. Williams, Antioch Baptist Church, Harlem
Ms. Mary Ellen OBoyle, Sisters of Charity, NY
Pastor Bruce Cornwell, Community Reformed Church of Colonie
Pastor Donna Schaper, Orient Congregational Church
Pastor Heather Kirk-Davidoff, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Albany NY
Pastor Kevin E McKenna, Saint Theodore’s
Rabbi Abby Stein, Sacred Space
Rabbi Abi Weber
Rabbi Andrue Kahn, JFREJ Member
Rabbi Barat Ellman, JFREJ Rabbinic Council
Rabbi Brian Fink, Marlene Meyerson JCC, Manhattan
Rabbi David Dunn Bauer, Queer Spiritual Counseling
Rabbi Dr. Daniel Ross Goodman, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Rabbi Dr. Jo David
Rabbi Dr. Tsvi Blanchard
Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, Hadar
Rabbi Eytan Hammerman, Jewish Community Center of Harrison
Rabbi Guy Austrian, Fort Tryon Jewish Center
Rabbi Heidi Hoover, B’ShERT: Beth Shalom v’Emeth Reform Temple
Rabbi Howard Goldsmith, Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester
Rabbi Irwin Goldenberg
Rabbi Jill Hausman, Actors’ Temple, Congregation Ezrath Israel
Rabbi Jonathan Slater, Institute for Jewish Spirituality
Rabbi Joshua Strom, Congregation B’nai Yisrael
Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann, SAJ-Judaism that Stands for All
Rabbi Lester Bronstein, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue White Plains NY
Rabbi Marc J Margolius, Institute for Jewish Spirituality
Rabbi Margo Hughes-Robinson, (Conservative Movement, Judaism)
Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition
Rabbi Mira, Ammud
Rabbi Miriam Grossman, Kolot
Rabbi Pamela Wax, Westchester Jewish Community Services
Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg, Malkhut
Rabbi Rachel Timoner, Congregation Beth Elohim
Rabbi Steven Kane, Congregation Sons of Israel
Rabbi Susan Falk, The Shul of New York
Rabbinical Student Adam Graubart, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Rabbinical Student Justin Callis, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Rabbinical Student Sierra Fox, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Reverend Alison Quin, Grace Church Millbrook
Reverend David W. Dyson, Lafayette Ave. Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, NY
Reverend Dr. Amaury Tañón-Santos, Schenectady Community Ministries
Reverend Edwin Chinery (Episcopal)
Reverend Jean-Pierre Seguin (Episcopal)
Reverend Joe Cleveland, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Saratoga Springs
Reverend Kareem Goubran, LMSW, Graffiti Church
ReverendMicah Bucey, Judson Memorial Church
Reverend Posey Krakowsky (Episcopal)
Reverend Amanda Meisenheimer, The Riverside Church
Reverend Andrea Abbott, First Universalist Church of Central Square
Reverend Ashley Birt, Center for Jubilee Practice
Reverend Benjamin Perry, Middle Collegiate Church
Reverend Bertram Johnson, Union Theological Seminary
Reverend Carl Adair, Zion Episcopal Church, Douglaston
Reverend Carmen Hernandez, 1471-73 Watson Ave Resident Council Inc
Reverend Chris Dela Cruz, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Reverend Conrad B. Tillard, Flatbush Tompkins Congregational Church
Reverend Cynthia Jackson, Church of the Evangel, Brooklyn NY
Reverend Cynthia Stravers, Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest
Reverend Derrick McQueen, St. James Presbyterian Church
Reverend Dr. Chloe Breyer (Episcopal Church)
Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis, Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary
Reverend Dr. Peter W. Peters, Episcopal Church
Reverend Dr. Richard S. Gilbert
Reverend E. West McNeill, Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS
Reverend Earl Arnold, Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
Reverend Emily Otto, United Church of Christ
Reverend Eric Thomas, Siloam Presbyterian Church
Reverend Frank Morales (Episcopal)
Reverend George Haigler III, New Day Community Worship and Outreach Center
Reverend Joe Paparone, Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS
Reverend Kymberly McNair
Reverend Matthew Dimick, Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone
Reverend Molly Dowell Baum, First Presbyterian Church Albany
Reverend Noel E. Bordador, Episcopal Church
Reverend N. J. L’Heureux, Jr., Queens Federation of Churches
Reverend Sara E. Baron, First United Methodist Church of Schenectady
Reverend Seth Zuiho Segall, White Plains Zen/Boundless Way Zen of Westchester
Reverend Thia Reggio, Astoria First Presbyterian Church
Reverend William Mark Koenig, Presbytery of New York City
Reverend William Spilly, Diocese of Rochester
Senior Pastor Dustin G Wright, Messiah Lutheran Church
Shaista Husain (Muslim)
Sister Danielle Bonetti, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Albany Province
Sister Honora Kinney, Sisters of Saint Joseph
Sister Joan Agro, Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt, New York
Sister Mary Ellen OBoyle, Sisters of Charity, NY
Sister Mary Kay Finneran, Sister of Charity of New York
Sister. Margaret Sikora, Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement