Early in the pandemic and economic crisis short-term moratoriums on eviction for non-payment of rent were widespread and moratoriums were enacted. Governor Cuomo has now extended New York’s moratorium to late September, but bills don’t go away. Unpaid rents just accumulate and smaller landlords are compelled to pay their mortgages even if they can’t collect rent.
Nationwide, housing experts predict that unless governments act, 20 to 30 million households will face eviction when moratoriums end. Once again, immigrants are among those most at risk. Since March many have been unable to pay their rent and utilities in the face of unemployment or illness.
UIDN has provided direct support to at least 150 immigrant families since March. We have budgeted to continue this effort at least through the rest of the year. Depending on circumstances, we have paid all or part of a family’s rent and/or utilities, to keep services in place and/or avoid an impossible mountain of debt at the end of the moratorium.
Requests for help peaked in July. Since then requests have declined as people have returned to work though many remain several months in arrears. UIDN has negotiated with landlords on behalf of tenants for reductions of rent in return for current payments.
Many smaller landlords have been understanding and accommodating and some actually live in their buildings. Larger corporate landlords have been less helpful.
As with food support, UIDN’s rental program relies on grants and personal donations. Major grants have come from Episcopal Charities, Catholic Charities, United Way, and Family of Woodstock.