Monday, May 23

New Yorkers call for continued moratorium on rental evictions

Demonstration in New York on January 14, 2022 against the planned end on January 15 of a moratorium on tenant evictions in New York StateEd JONES

A hundred protesters in Manhattan, supported by the executive of this great district of New York, demanded Friday the continuation of a moratorium on rental evictions in the whole of New York State, in force since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

This moratorium, decided in the spring of 2020 by the governor of the state at the time, Andrew Cuomo, has been regularly extended since, but the current governor Kathy Hochul did not wish to do so beyond January 15, 2022, i.e. this Saturday. .

“You can’t let a moratorium expire in the middle of winter, during a Covid outbreak (…) Madam Governor, that just can’t happen,” thundered Jumaane Williams, himself a candidate for the post. Governor of New York.

“Having a home is a human right” or “governor of evictions”, chanted the crowd gathered in front of the municipal library, before the police made a few arrests.

Sarah Lazuy, an activist, finds “unacceptable to launch eviction proceedings against 250,000 people in New York State, while we are in the middle of winter and the pandemic continues”.

If the moratorium does end on Saturday, “tens of thousands of women and children of color in New York will be evicted by their landlords and will find themselves on the streets”, protested Brad Lander, a financial controller who works for the municipality.

The moratorium on rental evictions had been decided by Governor Cuomo when New York was the global epicenter of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 and had thousands of deaths (at least 34,000 people died in the city during this wave of 2020- 2021) and its approximately nine million inhabitants were holed up in their homes.

On January 7, the four “presidents” of New York’s main neighborhoods – the equivalent of borough mayors – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens, called on the state to “extend the moratorium on evictions”.

The president of the prosperous island of Manhattan, Mark Levine, demanded on Friday that “the state extend the moratorium” and that “the courts immediately adjourn all eviction cases”, because “the city is still grappling with the Omicron wave”.

The governor of New York released weekly data on the Covid-19 epidemic in the state on Friday, seeming to show a decline in contamination. Meanwhile, Ms. Hochul warned of polar temperatures this weekend with numbers ranging from -12 degrees Celsius in New York to -30 degrees in the upstate.

Housing in New York, in particular the astronomical prices for buying and renting, is one of the black points of daily life in the economic and cultural capital of the United States. The new mayor Eric Adams has made the fight against the enormous socio-economic inequalities one of his priorities.

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