New York, NY — Housing Justice for All, a leading statewide coalition of over 80 organizations that represent tenants and homeless New Yorkers, released the following statement in response to the legislature’s extension of the eviction moratorium in an extraordinary special session.
Over the last 18 months, eviction moratoria at the State and Federal level saved thousands of homes and prevented the spread of COVID-19. In August, those critical protections were thrown into disarray when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key provisions of both the New York State and federal eviction moratoria.
We commend Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie for responding to this news with the urgency it requires, calling legislative session, and taking decisive action to protect over 860,000 households behind on rent from displacement. We hope that today’s legislation reflects a new and lasting reality in Albany: one in which tenants and homeless people have an ally in the Governor’s office.
We also welcome the decision to extend the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), as well as the tenant protections it affords, to renters in localities that did not opt in to the program in April. Tenants in Rochester, Syracuse, Yonkers, and Long Island can now be protected from eviction by applying for rental assistance and can feel more secure in their homes.
This victory belongs to the housing movement. Tenants spoke out against the failures of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), marched in the streets and participated in powerful acts of civil disobedience in order to win this indispensable extension.
However, New York renters still need far more to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and the housing crisis that existed before March 2020. We need permanent eviction protections like Good Cause Eviction and permanent rental assistance like the Housing Access Voucher Program to truly stabilize the more than 860,000 renters at risk of losing their homes.
We look forward to the next legislative session in January to build off of this victory and win permanent solutions to New York’s housing crisis.