New York considering special session to delay evictions
New York’s new governor is considering calling legislators back to Albany to address the impending end of a moratorium on evictions in the middle of a pandemic, even as billions of dollars in state and federal funding meant to avoid a catastrophic increase in homelessness remain unspent.
Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said Friday she is in talks with the leaders of the state Senate and the state Assembly about calling a special session after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a moratorium ordered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Our teams will be working through the weekend to address how best to deliver relief to renters and homeowners in need as quickly as possible,” Hochul said in a statement.
An Albany source familiar with the negotiations between Hochul and legislative leaders said a special session is almost certain. Hochul has the final say over whether to bring legislators back to the capital.
In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D) said the rising tide of coronavirus infections caused by the resurgent delta variant made the legislature’s goals all the more clear.
“The Supreme Court struck down the federal eviction moratorium, and once again, New York State must lead the way. As the Delta variant spreads, all levels of government must work together and solve this problem,” Stewart-Cousins said. “This is the time for the government to step up and protect all New Yorkers as we continue to battle this pandemic. We are working with both the Governor and the Assembly to figure out the best path forward.”
About $50 billion in federal funding allocated in two federal pandemic relief packages through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program was supposed to alleviate the strain felt by both renters who could not pay and landlords still owed mortgage payments and other costs on their property. About $2.7 billion of that larger pot was earmarked for New York.
But by July, just $5.1 billion in national funds, and a smaller fraction of the funds allocated to New York residents, had been disbursed to tenants and landlords, or about 11 percent of the total allocation, the Treasury Department said in a report this week.
The Supreme Court overturned a New York State eviction moratorium two weeks ago in a decision that broke along ideological lines. The Court ruled earlier this month that the state’s move to allow a resident to certify a hardship on his or her own behalf violated a landlord’s right to a hearing.