By Jessica Easthope
A change is coming for renters in New York City. The eviction moratorium has been extended to August 20, but it won’t include everyone.
“That extension of the moratorium only covers tenants who have been affected by the pandemic and the only way they can prove they were affected is by showing they applied for unemployment insurance benefits,” said Antonio Garcia, the Director of Catholic Charities of New York’s Eviction Prevention Program.
Starting on June 20, those who were struggling to pay rent and facing eviction before the pandemic will once again be at risk.
“Nobody knows the magnitude of the problem yet, what we could see is a spike in people facing eviction in New York City,” said Antonio.
According to Catholic Charities, there are more than 200,000 non-payment cases in New York City Housing Court every year. Nine percent of those cases result in evictions. Anthony projects courts will have double that amount once the moratorium is lifted, leaving the city’s low-income renters with an uncertain future.
“It doesn’t seem to be happening for everybody but it is for some? That doesn’t seem fair,” said Tatiana, a direct support professional working with adults who have developmental disabilities.
Many of her clients are out of a job because of COVID-19, but they don’t qualify for unemployment because they don’t make enough. The moratorium will be extended for them if they can prove their unemployment is because of the pandemic, but in the meantime they’re struggling and Tatiana is fighting for them.
“They have to feed their families, they have to feed their families and they have bills that they can’t catch up on,” she explained.
Catholic Charities is doing everything it can to be a resource for these at-risk tenants.
“We help clients find the resources to pay the rental arrears, we also mediate with landlords to find a solution, sometimes landlords are willing to abate some of those rental arrears,” said Anthony.
Catholic Charities is also presenting tenants with long-term solutions to their rent-payment-problems.
“We have employment specialists who can help them, we also have a tenant education program that helps people with budget management,” said Garcia.
The eviction moratorium will be lifted for those whose unemployment was not affected by the pandemic on Saturday, June 20.