AARP AND PULP PRAISE GOVERNOR, LEGISLATURE FOR AGREEMENT TO FREEZE EVICTIONS AND FORECLOSURES; URGE UTILITY SHUTOFF MORATORIUM EXTENSION, SWIFT RELEASE OF RELIEF FUNDS
ALBANY, NY – Today, AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel and Richard Berkley, Executive Director of the Public Utility Law Project (“PULP”), applauded Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature for their agreement to extend the State’s eviction and foreclosure protections in extraordinary session. A joint statement from Finkel and Berkley follows:
“As the pandemic worsens in many parts of the State, the need to address the economic catastrophe that many New York tenants, homeowners, and utility consumers face grows with urgency. People must be able to stay safe without worry of losing their home, being evicted or having critical services like power, water or internet cut off.
“We thank Governor Hochul and State Legislators for agreeing to extend the freeze on evictions and foreclosures. New Yorkers will feel the health and financial tolls of COVID long after the pandemic finally wanes, and this move will provide many seniors, disabled, low-, fixed-, and newly-low-income residents with some security in the interim.
“Still, more than 1.2 million financially strapped New York households are behind on their electric and heating bills. These consumers deserve the opportunity to resolve their arrears without the looming threat of losing power. We urge Governor Hochul and the Legislature, having acted swiftly and decisively to address the rental crisis, to help struggling utility consumers.
“We appreciate Governor Hochul’s commitment to rectify the ongoing failure of the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to quickly disperse rental, mortgage, and utility bill relief through the Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program (“ERAP”), which would also help the many struggling small landlords who are not receiving needed rental income. And the State Office of Housing and Community Renewal must begin the Emergency Homeowners and Utility Assistance Program (“EHAP”) to protect New Yorkers behind on their mortgages and relieve the crushing financial burdens many New Yorkers are under – and which would continue even after the moratorium is extended.”
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org/nearyou and follow @AARPNY on social media.
Since 1981, the Public Utility Project of New York (“PULP”) has been the sole independent organization educating, advocating and litigating on behalf of New York‘s low-income utility consumers. Our work has empowered and protected millions through the enactment of the Home Energy Fair Practices Act (“HEFPA”) and four decades of battling against increasing energy, telephone, and water unaffordability. In our 40th Anniversary year, PULP’s direct services and principled advocacy kept the lights, heat, water, telephone, and broadband “on” for 2.7 million vulnerable households throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. PULP looks forward to many more decades of serving low- and fixed-income New Yorkers. Learn more at www.utilityproject.org or follow us on social media @utilityproject.