ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In exactly one month, New York State’s Eviction Moratorium is slated to end. The moratorium halted evictions if renters filed paperwork stating the pandemic affected their ability to pay their rent.

On Wednesday, the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York was awarded a $2.4 million grant which will go towards helping people stay in their homes. “We know how important shelter is to anyone’s life and that’s what we hope this money can be used for,” says Lillian Moy, Executive Director of Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York.

The organization provides no cost legal support for those fighting evictions in Upstate New York. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, one of the leading interventions to prevent evictions is providing legal assistance to at-risk tenants.  

“Regardless of the reason you think you’re going to be evicted. Whether you owe money. Maybe you stopped paying rent because of poor housing conditions. I think it’s a very important time for people to contact us to get some basic legal services,” Moy says.

With the grant, LASNNY hopes to add more legal experts to their team to help individuals in cities like Amsterdam and Albany, in particular Albany’s South End. Moy says prior to the pandemic, the zip code 12202, which encompasses the South End, had around 1,400 evictions filed in 2019.

“So there will be a team of two lawyers and a paralegal hopefully in Amsterdam. Here in Albany, I think we are hoping to have five lawyers and three paralegals working together.” 

Since the start of the pandemic, thousands of New Yorkers have needed help keeping a roof over their head. According to the National Equity Atlas, nearly 591,000 households in New York State are behind on their rent as of October 1.