News Articles

COVID Reality: Advocating to Preserve Housing and Prevent Evictions In New York


Photo by Rafaelina Tineo 

By Jim Sliney Jr

Catholic Charities Community Services has a department called “Preserving Housing.” Well named, because that’s exactly what they do. But preserving housing just became more complicated.

At the dawn of the Coronavirus, Governor Cuomo placed a pause on evictions. This was done because so many jobs were lost it seemed impossible for people to pay their rent. That pause went into effect and while it does not help people pay the rent they owe, it continues to protect tenants from evictions until June 20th, 2020.

But now, several months later, the situation that lead to the pause in the first place hasn’t been fixed. Unemployment is still high. As a result, the Governor has extended the pause on evictions until August 20th. The problem? That extension isn’t for everyone.

On June 20th, the pause expires for everyone who cannot prove they have suffered a financial hardship because of Covid-19, or who qualify for unemployment. That is a bad thing. How do you prove financial hardship? Usually you can show proof of unemployment, but many residents who do not have documentation cannot receive unemployment and therefore, cannot prove financial hardship.

WHAT IS CATHOLIC CHARITES DOING TO HELP?

The Preserving Housing office is helping individuals and families who may be at eviction risk by

  • Evaluating of their circumstances
  • Identifying the status of Housing Court proceedings
  • Assessing whether clients are eligible for city-issued housing subsidy
  • Establishing a plan to pay any arrears owed by the client/tenant

HOW YOU CAN GET HELP

Like most of the City, offices are closed, or mostly closed. So

if you are in need of assistance and live in The Bronx, Manhattan, or Staten Island, call the CCCS Helpline 888-744-7900 and get pre-screened.

After being screened on the Helpline, your information will go directly to Preserving Housing and you will be contacted about how to proceed.

DO I STILL HAVE TO PAY RENT?

Yes. There have been no executive orders from the government that say tenants will not have to pay rent. Rent may have been paused, but every month’s rent is still due to be paid. I think it is not hard to imagine how difficult that is going to be on New Yorkers who have lost their jobs.

If you are concerned about not being able to make rent, do something about it. Authorities say the best thing you can do is have an honest conversation with your landlord. If you are having difficulties with your landlord, it might help to speak with the Preserve Housing department (call the Helpline at 888-744-7900) because there are laws in place to protest tenants from abusive landlords.

Whatever your situation, Catholic Charities is here to help.

Catholic Charities is responding to the needs of our neighbors during the 
COVID-19 pandemic.

For Help Call 888-744-7900