“As Gov. Hochul and Majority Leaders consider a special session this week, they should be reminded that our immediate next step must be to fix a broken rent-relief program and demand the Office of Temporary Disability Assistance (OTDA) do the job it has thus far failed to achieve. We’ve heard promises to that end, but it’s time to see results.
The officials now hoping to run back to Albany showed no urgency whatsoever between January and July, as the state put $2.6 billion in federal assistance in a drawer while tenants and landlords struggled to make ends meet. Since the beginning of the year, funding has been available. Unfortunately, competence from Albany has not.
Extending the eviction moratorium in its current form is absolutely short-sighted and detrimental to small property owners who have received no relief and no income for the past 18 months. As their own mortgage and utility costs have piled up, no protections for small housing providers have been offered by Majority Conferences.
Any new legislation must include provisions that bring fairness and balance to the entire process. Property owners should be entitled to challenge hardship declarations. Tenants who have not paid rent, but refuse to seek assistance from the state, should not be shielded from evictions. Housing courts need to be open and active. Aligning the court system with OTDA can bring more people into the existing rent-relief program quickly and efficiently.
If Majority lawmakers had done the right thing months ago, we wouldn’t be considering a special session today. New York is among the worst in the nation for getting ERAP funds into the hands of tenants and landlords. That abysmal record clearly demonstrates that New York has thus far gotten it wrong. If we are back in Albany this week, we owe it to the entire housing community to finally get it right.”