July 21, 2020
By Alejandra O'Connell-Domenech (Read the story in AMNY)
With federal stimulus funds set to expire at the end of July and state’s eviction moratorium ending in August, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration launched the Landlord-Tenant Mediation Project on Tuesday to help out of work New Yorkers avoid eviction.
The city will partner with community dispute resolution centers throughout the five boroughs to offer free case intake and mediation sessions between landlords and tenants struggling to pay rent after losing all or some of their income as the result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The project will be overseen by CDRCs in coordination with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants, and the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit, with support from the Human Resource Administration’s Office of Civil Justice. Eligible tenants will be referred to CDRCs in each borough, according to a city hall press release.
“This recognizes that business as usual is not enough,” said Commissioner for Housing Preservation and Development Louise Carroll. “We don’t want to put residents through the trauma of the eviction process just to get help.” The effort will focus on working with residents in 27 neighborhoods hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
De Blasio and Commissioner Carroll called on Washington during a press conference to pass a second stimulus package in order to help the city feed and house New Yorkers. On Monday, Congress returned to Washington to try to beat the clock in passing a bill that would provide Americans with financial support before benefits expire at the end of July but it doesn’t look like any new coronavirus relief bill will pass before August.
“We cannot do this alone,” Carroll said. “We need the federal government to spur our economy and to give tenants the rental subsidies they need so that they came come through this crisis intact.”
“We are about to go over a cliff here in this city, in terms of people potentially losing their housing,” de Blasio pleaded during the press conference. “Here is a chance for the Congress and President Trump to right a lot of wrongs and provide New York City and cities across the country with the help we need to get back on our feet… let’s see if we can get it right this time.”