NEW YORK - Time is running out for New York renters as the state's eviction moratorium expires as this month ends.
"The expiration of the moratorium represents a public health crisis, massive evictions will mean overcrowded shelters and overcrowded shelters will become Petri dishes for the spread of COVID-19 especially during the delta variant," Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-New York, said.
He signed a letter, along with several of his fellow New York Democrats in Congress, calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to extend the state moratorium, which was put in place to help with hardships and unemployment brought on by the pandemic.
"We have to keep the moratorium in place and distribute the emergency rental assistance funding so that both landlords and tenants can pay the bills," Torres said.
New York state has been slow to distribute the rental assistance it has received from the federal government. Data from the state shows that as of Aug. 23, only about $203 million of the more than $2 billion in federal relief allocated for New York has been paid out.
"I applied literally at 9 a.m. on June 1, the very first moment that it was possible to apply, and my landlord applied by noon of that same day," Esteban Giron, a renter in Brooklyn, said. "Now we're at Aug. 30 and still nothing."
He said his husband lost his job during the pandemic. Due to some other personal and medical reasons, they haven't been able to pay rent and have yet to see a relief check.
Landlords also told us this hasn't been an easy time for them either.
"I think that's the most frustrating part for property owners. All the while they still have to provide housing, they still have to pay their mortgage, they still have to pay property taxes," landlord Joanna Wong said. "But it doesn't matter whether they're getting any income or not."
Whether or not the eviction moratorium is extended, Hochul is reminding New Yorkers who have been affected by the pandemic that they can still apply for rent relief funds through the state on this website.