Assemblymember Barrett Passes Legislative Package Providing Relief to Families, Small Businesses Amid Pandemic

May 29, 2020

Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Dutchess/Columbia) announced she helped pass vital legislation that provides relief for Hudson Valley families and small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Barrett is working to ensure our communities receive the necessary support during this public health crisis that has created unprecedented challenges across the state.

“As we carefully engage in the reopening process, we must ensure that our families and businesses have the support they need to not only make it through these difficult times, but also to lay the groundwork for a stronger future,” Barrett said. “These measures will help create new avenues for financial assistance to uplift our beloved community, save local jobs, and increase protections for medical professionals and first responders. I’ll continue working to help our families, friends and neighbors overcome this crisis.”

Barrett voted to enact the Emergency Rent Relief Act of 2020, which provides $100 million in short-term rental assistance to economically distressed New Yorkers (A.10522). This legislation will aid the most vulnerable tenants in our community and provide many landlords with the funds to pay their own costs.

To kickstart local economies, she supported a bill that allows industrial development agencies (IDAs) to provide loans to small businesses and not-for-profit organizations, as well as offer these establishments grants to purchase personal protective equipment (A.10294-A). Barrett was instrumental in the creation of funds to support small businesses in Columbia County at the start of the crisis and led efforts to create the recently announced NY Forward Loan Fund.

Several other bills that Barrett helped pass offer financial relief to homeowners affected by COVID-19, including legislation that:

  • Authorizes localities with the option to defer tax payments or create installment payments (A.10252-A);
  • requires state-chartered mortgage lenders to provide a six-month forbearance period to homeowners that have lost income (A.10351-B); and
  • authorizes local governments to place a moratorium on tax lien sales and tax foreclosures for up to five years (A.10518).

Barrett supported additional measures that benefit Hudson Valley families, including bills that prohibit price gouging of medical supplies and services and any other essential goods and services needed for the health or welfare of the community (A.10270); ensure schools closed due to COVID-19 will not have state aid withheld (A.10189-A); extend library project deadlines by 12 months (A.10465); and allow volunteer firefighters and emergency responders to earn points for service award programs during a state disaster emergency (A.10438-A).

“I will keep working to ensure that Hudson Valley families are safe and have access to necessary resources during these challenging times. My staff and I are available to answer questions and help our constituents as we navigate this next stage of the pandemic,” said Barrett.