The Specter of Displacement & Homelessness
Housing insecurity is a fundamental issue. Governor Cuomo used emergency powers to close down the housing courts until late June and prohibit evictions until late July for Covid-related non-payment of rent. As of this writing, the state-wide housing justice movement has successfully pressured the courts to postpone all eviction cases until August 6.
As jobs disappeared, many of our immigrant friends were in a bind: little or no current income or savings to pay monthly rent which sometimes amounted to 50% or more of their income when fully employed. UIDN volunteers helped to negotiate reduced rents from landlords in return for early payment.
Between January and the end of June, we helped about 120 families to access over $90,000 from United Way and Catholic Charities, and over $58,000 that we raised ourselves, for rent and utility support. From July through December, we hope to expend over $71,000 in rental and utilities support.
UIDN will not be able to sustain this level of support indefinitely. Nor can we reach the many other families who we need help. Even before the formal eviction process resumes, some families are already moving in with friends or relatives to make housing – however crowded – more nearly affordable.
And, there’s More to the Housing Crisis than Covid