SCOTUS eviction ruling prompts calls for more tenant help

People hold up a sign that says "Eviction Free Zone" at protest.
People hold up a sign that says "Eviction Free Zone" at protest.
Kevin RC Wilson / Shutterstock
People protesting against evictions in New York City.

SCOTUS eviction ruling prompts calls for more tenant help

Nonprofits and housing advocates say that distribution of rent relief needs to be sped up and the state's eviction moratorium should be extended.
August 16, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of New York’s eviction moratorium last week, blocking a provision that allowed tenants to avoid eviction by submitting declarations of economic hardship without having to provide evidence in court.

The ruling paves the way for some eviction proceedings to go forward, prompting calls from nonprofits and tenant advocates that more should be done to protect New Yorkers from eviction.

That includes speeding up the distribution of rental relief funds provided to New York by the federal government. As of last week, the state had given out less than 5% of the $2.7 billion allocated to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Despite the slow rollout, state officials have insisted that the program will disburse enough dollars before a deadline next month that would allow the federal government to take back the funding if at least 65% of those relief funds haven’t been disbursed. 

“It’s absurd to think that $2.7 billion can be effectively distributed to every household in need in the next four weeks – regardless of any pledges by the state,” Christine Quinn, head of the shelter provider Win, wrote in an op-ed in the Times Union. That makes it all the more important to amend and extend the state’s eviction moratorium, she added. 

Incoming Gov. Kathy Hochul has pledged to “strengthen the eviction moratorium legislation,” and legislators have already introduced legislation to extend the moratorium until Oct. 31 because of the slow pace of rental relief distribution.

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.