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LAS Discusses NYC Rent Relief on Capitol Pressroom

Ellen Davidson, Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society, appeared on WCNY’s Capitol Pressroom in order to help make sense of the state’s attempt to provide rent relief to New Yorkers reeling from the economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 lockdown. While the state legislature has announced $100 million in rent relief funds for a four-month period, public defenders are sounding the alarm that the amount is a fraction of what is necessary to meet the needs of New Yorkers facing eviction, warning that after COVID-related unemployment funds run out, the need may surge to $400 million every month.

The coming expected shortfall couldn’t come at a worse time for many New York City residents, as the courts issue confusing, provisional administrative orders to begin the process of re-opening eviction proceedings. The Legal Aid Society has warned of a catastrophic levels of evictions if the proceedings move forward without increased budgetary support and clarification of the state’s goals in regards to housing security.

“The Legal Aid Society is keeping an eye out to see when the next administrative order drops,” Davidson said, “and are hoping that there will be enough time to read it, understand it, and ask questions so that everyone involved understands what the court intends to happen. Unfortunately that’s not where we are now.”