Issue 165
August 12, 2020
“Without stable shelter, everything else falls apart.”
Matthew Desmond

🏠 Housing Is a Human Right 🏡

NYC’s Covid cases are way down since April, but that news may soon be overshadowed by a drastic rise in evictions. Many people are still out of work due to the pandemic, and those stimulus checks have long been spent covering the bare necessities. So how will renters pay their landlords? All across NYC, renters are worried about being evicted from their homes in the middle of a pandemic.
In late June, the moratorium on evictions, which protected tenants from losing their homes due to the coronavirus crisis, expired. Though Governor Cuomo extended these protections to those directly affected by the crisis through today, August 12th, housing courts have opened. Many landlords have reportedly already sent eviction notices, which is understandably causing anxiety and panic for many renters. Tenants have been unable to pay during these times because people have lost their jobs, gotten sick, or had loved ones get sick, requiring them to cover medical expenses.
It shouldn’t be up for debate. This one is pretty obvious—people will lose their homes. Evictions at any time are wrong, but during a global health crisis in which people experiencing homelessness are at higher risk of sickness? That’s especially cruel. Like all things, this will affect already marginalized communities more deeply than others. People of color will be most hard hit by the rise in evictions. Women and nonbinary folks will be more likely to be evicted than men. Housing is a human right and a public health issue. Everyone deserves a safe roof over their heads.
So what can you do?

Turn up the pressure on your legislators. Call, text, and tweet your reps and ask them what they’re doing to protect tenants in their districts.

Redistribute the wealth. If you're able, send money to folks you know are struggling to pay rent, donate to GoFundMes, or share information about fundraisers. We must help each other in every way possible!

Fill out the damn Census. Census data informs just about everything, including how much affordable housing is allotted to the city.

Educate yourself to help those around you. If you know people who are at risk of or are in the process of eviction, inform them of their rights and refer them to organizations, such as mutual aid groups or help with technology, as a tenant’s portal became available recently.

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