The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic shutdown has caused a loss of income and jobs, forcing many renters to choose between food and paying their rent at the first of the month.
Food insecurity has become even more of a problem since the outbreak began. At food giveaway events across the city, lines stretch for blocks just for the opportunity to get a meal or fresh produce.
Although New York has issued a moratorium on evictions for three months, advocates and lawmakers are concerned that isn’t enough. When the three months are up, tenants may still have the same challenges.
That isn’t to say small landlords and homeowners are not struggling financially. With mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities and other costs to bear, they too need assistance.
Rather than pit one against the other, all parties should get behind a solution that can provide relief for all.
One possible answer is new legislation proposed by State Senator Julia Salazar and Assemblyman Joe Lentol, whose districts overlap in north Brooklyn.
The Emergency Coronavirus Affordable Housing Preservation Act of 2020 would provide state and federally funded relief for New Yorkers who have lost income or are struggling financially during the coronavirus crisis.
It would help tenants, homeowners, small business owners and affordable housing providers who want to keep their buildings in good repair.
It will need not only support in Albany, but some convincing in Washington, where Congress has already passed coronavirus relief packages to help small businesses and hospitals.
It may be a tough sell, but New Yorkers need the help. When the three months are up, we don’t want to see the housing and homelessness crisis worsened. Lawmakers should act now to prevent that from happening.