After A Two-Week Delay, Cuomo Unveils Revised COVID-19 Rent Relief, Activists Call For ‘Blanket’ Eviction Moratorium

After A Two-Week Delay, Cuomo Unveils Revised COVID-19 Rent Relief, Activists Call For ‘Blanket’ Eviction Moratorium

On Thursday, just two weeks before federal grants for the measure was scheduled to expire, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a streamlined rent reduction initiative to support renters dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Since Cuomo revealed earlier this month that he planned to sign an executive order extending the state’s COVID-19 rent reduction measure after more than $60 million of an allotted $100 million in federal funds went unspent, tenant activists and landlords were anxiously awaited the latest guidelines.

Vito Signorile said “There’s no urgency from the governor, which is a little alarming. This is $60 million we’re talking about here.”

“Even if he issued the executive order on Dec. 3 you’re looking at only 27 days to get this together. Now, you’re down to 13 days, how much can you get done?” he added.

Application Program Will Soon Re-opened

According to a guideline issued on Thursday evening by the state, the program, administered by the New York State Office of Homes & Community Renewal, will be reopened for application with “expanded eligibility criteria to serve New Yorkers who may not have had the opportunity to initially apply and those who may have been previously ineligible.”

Anyone who originally applied for the funds will not have to reapply for reconsideration. According to the new requirements, HCR would reevaluate all rejected applications and let applicants know if they are authorized.

“HCR is acutely aware that this pandemic has put more pressure on New Yorkers who were already housing insecure, and these improvements to the Legislature’s original program will expand access to rent relief while building on Gov. Cuomo’s eviction protections,” agency Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said.

Advocates panned the delay and the whole initiative, arguing it would do nothing to ease the financial crisis facing many New York renters and instead called on Cuomo. State legislators to pass by the end of the year a blanket eviction moratorium.

Cea Weaver, Housing Justice for All’s campaign leader, said the bill clearly would not match the scope of the disaster facing tenants as federal eviction restrictions. As well as a state statute enabling landlords to obtain money decisions as opposed to throwing renters to the curb.

Over the summer, a pair of Senate Democrats’ bills concerning residential evictions have floundered.

What did The Policymakers suggest?

The policymakers and legislative officials have suggested that they plan to convene to discuss the problem in the next week. But what the result will be for anxious tenants remains uncertain.

Speaker Carl Heastie said on Monday that talks between his house, Cuomo’s office, and the Senate are underway.

“We’re in the discussion stage of knowing that there are huge amounts of needs, (so) what can we do that’s within our grasp,” Heastie said.

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