ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With the end of the eviction moratorium last month, some advocates gathered in Albany Tuesday morning to call for the state to provide additional protections for tenants. The moratorium ended after nearly two years on January 15th.
Protesters gathered outside of Albany City Hall, where inside, the civil court has begun hearing eviction cases again.
“We’re here to call upon the New York State legislature, as well as Governor Hochul, to do three really crucial things in the face of the homelessness crisis right now,” said Luke Grandis, the Upstate Lead Organizer for Vocal-NY.
These include increasing resources for the Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act, a law signed by former Governor Andrew Cuomo, that allows the state to acquire abandoned hotels and offices to be used for affordable housing.
Advocates also called for the legislature to pass a housing access voucher program and good cause eviction legislation, “Which makes it so that someone cannot be evicted for any reason such as prejudice,” said Grandis.
With the end of the moratorium weeks ago, local organizations like the Legal Aid Society have already noticed an influx in requests for assistance.
“With the cases that weren’t scheduled in the last two years, and now the new ones that are still being filed. It’s pretty overwhelming, frankly,” said Robert Romaker, managing attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York.
As eviction proceedings resume, the Legal Aid Society reminds tenants there are resources available, including financial assistance and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, “That gives you a possibility of paying the rent that you owe back, but also, by law, it’s supposed to stop the eviction dead in its tracks until that application is processed,” Romaker explained.
Governor Hochul has also announced plans to tackle home insecurity at the state level.
Late last week, she announced a request for an additional $1.6 billion in federal assistance for ERAP. Her 2023 budget also includes a $35 million proposal to provide free legal representation for eviction proceedings outside of New York City.