Speaker Heastie Statement on December 28th Session and Passing Critical Legislation to Protect New Yorkers from Eviction and Foreclosure During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Housing is a basic human right, and that is why I am calling the Assembly into session on Monday, December 28th to take up critical eviction protections for tenants and residential mortgage foreclosure preventions for homeowners.

Far too many of our friends and neighbors struggled to find safe, affordable housing before COVID-19 hit our state. Now, more and more families are struggling financially through no fault of their own, and are worried about losing their roof over their head in the winter during a pandemic. We in the Assembly will not stand by as our friends, families and neighbors struggle through this unprecedented healthcare crisis.

The COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 will ensure that both tenants and homeowners can stay in their homes by putting a temporary stay on evictions and residential mortgage foreclosures until May 1, 2021 for those who can attest that financial hardship prevents them from being able to pay their mortgage or rent. Enacting these critical protections will give us the opportunity to work with our federal congressional delegation -- and with the incoming Biden Administration -- to continue to craft policy and direct critical federal funding to help tenants, homeowners and especially small landlords.

While this is an important step in protecting many New York families who have been pushed to the financial brink, we know more must be done. Smaller landlords who use a second unit or apartment to pay their bills have been put between a rock and a hard place with the loss of rental income due to COVID-19. Federal aid for rental assistance in the latest stimulus bill must be used to ease the rental burden on tenants who are in arrears and small mom and pop landlords who rent apartments to put food on their tables. This funding must be prioritized for these New Yorkers when it is made available as these homeowners and small landlords are fundamental to healthy, thriving communities. 

The Assembly Majority remains committed to meeting the challenges presented by this global healthcare crisis and we will work as long as it takes to get the necessary support and resources to New Yorkers who are struggling to get through these difficult times.