NEW YORK: About 100 protesters turned out in Manhattan Friday to demand the extension of a moratorium on rental evictions in New York state, a day before it was due to end.
The moratorium, granted in spring of 2020 by then governor Andrew Cuomo, has been regularly extended since then, but current governor Kathy Hochul has declined to do so after it is due to expire on Saturday.
“You cannot allow a moratorium to lapse in the middle of winter, during a COVID surge,” said Jumaane Williams, a former Brooklyn council member and himself a candidate for the post of governor.
As in previous days in the run-up to the January 15 deadline, demonstrators waved banners and chanted slogans in front of the public library.
“Housing is a human right” read one banner, while another brandished a picture of Hochul with the words, “Governor of evictions”.
“Tomorrow is the end of the eviction moratorium,” said protest organizer Sarah Lazuy. “It’s unacceptable to start eviction proceedings against 250,000 people in the state of New York, when it’s winter. And there’s a pandemic still going on. It’s just unacceptable. “
If the moratorium does end Saturday, “tens of thousands of women and children of color in New York City are going to get evicted by their landlords, are going to wind up on the streets are going to wind up in our shelter system. And that just is not possibly right,” said New York City comptroller Brad Lander.
Ex-governor Cuomo decided on a moratorium on rental evictions when New York was the global epicenter of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.
The city of nine million has suffered at least 34,000 deaths during the pandemic.
Rental and property prices in Manhattan and Brooklyn in particular are astronomical, one of the downsides of daily life in the economic and cultural capital of the United States. New mayor Eric Adams has made the fight against New York’s enormous socio-economic inequalities one of his priorities.