Top lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly are being urged by the Legal Aid Society to approve an indefinite extension of a tenant eviction moratorium.
The group on Tuesday released a letter to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to push for the measure as the current moratorium is set to expire in a month.
The ban on evictions for both residential and commercial tenants was put in place earlier this year as a safeguard amid an economic shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But there are cocnerns of a second wave of the virus hitting New York this fall, along with the ongoing aftershocks of the economic crisis created by the pandemic continuing.
"If we allow evictions to take place at the cusp of a second wave – and right before the flu season and cold weather – we will be flooding homeless shelters, subways, and streets at the very moment where we need to keep people housed to mitigate the spread of the virus and avoidable deaths," the group wrote in the letter.
"The prospect of evicting thousands of New Yorkers does not represent the progressive values of the State of New York. Moreover, it is well documented that the pandemic has disproportionately impacted low-income people of color. If you don’t extend the moratorium, New Yorkers who were living on the brink of poverty before the crisis will face catastrophic consequences, including food instability and homelessness."
The Legal Aid Society had previously found 14,000 households in New York City alone that had active warrants for eviction before the onset of the pandemic in March, which could be subject to enforcement.