AARP Applauds Governor, Legislature for Prioritizing Eviction & Foreclosure Protection, Urges Moratorium Extension
AARP Also Calls for Speed-Up of Federal Relief Funds for Rent, Mortgages and Utility Bills
ALBANY, N.Y. – AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel issued the following statement in light of today’s conferences by majority party state legislators and potential special session:
“Sadly, the pandemic seems far from over, and many New Yorkers are still struggling to make rent or mortgage payments – and pay their utility bills.
“AARP New York applauds Governor Hochul and state lawmakers for prioritizing this issue.
“We urge the Governor and legislature to extend the eviction moratorium and focus on distributing the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funds as quickly as possible for rent, mortgage, and utility bill relief in order to keep people in their homes.
“AARP is encouraged by Governor Hochul’s intention to do just that; it is not acceptable that less than 8 percent of ERAP funds – $200 million – had been distributed for rent relief as of August 24th.
“More New Yorkers have fallen behind on rent than Americans on average, with 22% of households statewide behind as of the beginning of July. And those behind on rent are overwhelmingly low-income households and people of color– those who have experienced the greatest job and income loss during the pandemic. In addition, there are about a million New York households in arrears on their energy bills.
“We applauded the State’s original eviction moratorium for maintaining an appropriate balance by not only helping renters and homeowners but by protecting many landlords who face loss of needed income. The moratorium protected renters over 65 who may face health consequences from losing their homes, and required localities to carry over Senior Citizens’ Homeowner Exemptions (SCHE) and Disabled Homeowner Exemptions (DHE) to the 2021 assessment roles at the same levels.
“The moratorium has especially helped New Yorkers of color, which we noted earlier in the pandemic in our Disrupt Disparities 3.0 report.
“We continue to urge the Legislature and Governor to bar negative credit reporting and discrimination against tenants based on their eviction and collection records during the pandemic, and to ensure not just renters but also homeowners who are over 65 or disabled can declare age or disability to prevent foreclosure.
“Failure to prevent mass evictions, foreclosures, and mass utility terminations would be a colossal moral and public health failure.”
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, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.