Albany, NY – Governor Kathy Hochul called a special session of the state legislature yesterday to consider extension and modification of the eviction and foreclosure moratorium as well as restoration of the limited use of remote convening of public meetings.
Both houses voted to extend the current eviction and mortgage foreclosure moratorium through January 15, 2022 but added important new conditions. With the previous temporary suspensions expired and recent decisions by the United States Supreme Court ending the federal CDC moratorium and striking down specific provisions of state law, the state legislature acted to continue to provide relief to distressed renters, landlords, homeowners and small businesses financially impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster/Dutchess) said, “With the Delta variant taking a toll on families and communities across the state and the nation, it is crucial that we protect New Yorkers facing difficult financial circumstances by extending the emergency moratoriums. During this crisis, people continue to struggle to meet their basic needs. Unemployment and underemployment are still at elevated stages and not all government programs designed to help have been fully implemented. The actions of Governor Hochul and the state legislature yesterday let all New Yorkers know that we will continue to work to return our state’s economy and the financial stability of households until the job is done.”
Over half of all New Yorkers rent their homes and in some parts of the state, that number rises to two thirds, the highest percentage in the nation. Nearly a million are significantly behind in their rent. State and federal programs have failed to get relief to tenants and homeowner/landlords in a timely fashion, with a mere fraction of over two billion dollars in aid actually in the hands of New York homeowner/landlords.
Recognizing the limited access to the courts and the extreme emergency we were facing, the state legislature previously passed a package that allowed renters to “self-attest” regarding their economic hardship. The new legislation was passed with the knowledge that the courts are reopening and that compliance with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling required a means by which the attestation could be challenged.
Since the initial passage of the financial relief package, only 15,000 households have received a total of $230 million in payments through the program. Over a billion dollars remains stuck in the bureaucratic pipeline. So far over 46,000 households have qualified for help, while a large portion of rental arrangements and circumstances are not qualifying under federal guidelines. Accordingly, the moratorium extender passed yesterday will include additional funds to help those renters and homeowner/landlords in need of assistance.
“Extending the moratorium on evictions will give our neighbors a chance to get back on their feet following the mass unemployment caused by the Pandemic. We thank Assemblymember Cahill for voting in favor of this measure," said Alim Flowers of Citizen Action.
“Now that we have passed this important extender, I am confident that Governor Hochul will use all of the resources at her disposal to assure that the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance finally carries out their legislative and moral mandate and get those funds dispersed quickly and effectively,” Assemblymember Cahill concluded.
The state legislature also amended the state Open Meetings Law to authorize state and local public bodies to conduct meetings remotely until January 15, 2022, provided that the public has the ability to watch or listen to the meeting and the meeting is recorded and transcribed. The extension addresses numerous requests by local governments and watchdog groups.
Please click here for a detailed summary of the terms of the legislative package and quick facts.