Churches United For Fair Housing (CUFFH) calls on New York from Harlem to the Hudson to immediately rehouse our most vulnerable homeless residents during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
New York’s existing homelessness crisis has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 92,000 homeless New Yorkers are left most vulnerable to the spread of disease, while there are an estimated 115,000 vacant hotel rooms and housing units in NYC alone. Our analysis found that there are an estimated 100,000 vacant hotel rooms, over 10,000 illegal Airbnbs, over 4,000 unsold condos, and over 700 units on Housing Connect in New York City right now.
People who are living in a shelter or are living on the street should be rehoused immediately. Shelters are some of the most unsafe places to be in this moment. From a public health perspective, it’s vital that New York rehouse every single homeless family immediately–as an entitlement. We must act as quickly as possible to get every single homeless household rent assistance immediately and permanently.
Not only must New York #HouseTheHomeless, we must immediately #CancelRent. Last week, 7.8 million calls were placed to the New York State Labor Department about unemployment benefits, meaning millions of people are unable to pay this month’s rent. While an eviction moratorium and mortgage suspension were good first steps, millions of New Yorkers who rent are still not fully protected. We need automatic forgiveness of any rent, mortgage, and/or utility payments owed or accumulated during the length of the current crisis.
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