Washington Heights, New York– Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez and Costa Constantinides today announced a resolution in support of the State bill to Cancel Rent for struggling New Yorkers who have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The last thing New Yorkers struggling through this pandemic should worry about is where they’ll live,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22. “Rent is due in just nine days for thousands of our neighbors who don’t have a job now. This should be the last of anyone’s concerns as they try to stay safe, care for their families, and access healthy food. I call on Albany to pass Senator Gianaris and Assembly Member Niou’s bills to Cancel Rent.”
“If people cannot work due to circumstances out of their control, why haven’t we already taken the steps to make sure their rents and mortgages are suspended? May 1st is next Friday and again tenants and small business owners will be facing the harsh reality of being unable to pay their rent,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez representing the 10th Council District, (Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill), “Today, I am proud to stand alongside my colleague Costa Constantinides as we introduce this resolution calling on the state legislature and Governor Cuomo to pass S.8125-A introduced by Senator Gianaris and A-10224-A introduced by Assembly Member Niou. This is a bill that will put people and small businesses first, not the banks or large corporations. This legislation will directly help the poor, underserved communities who have had to endure the worst of this pandemic.”
The resolution specifically calls on the state legislature to pass A.10224-A, introduced by Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou, and its State Senate counterpoint S.8125-A, introduced by Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris. It additionally calls on Governor Cuomo to sign legislation if enacted, which would cancel rent for certain New Yorkers who have lost their jobs or for small businesses forced to close over the coronavirus.
“It has been clear for weeks now that rents cannot be paid with money that doesn’t exist and therefore, rent will be cancelled whether or not we authorize it by law. I appreciate Council Member Constantinides joining the growing chorus of leaders who know we must provide serious rent relief and bring stability to the housing market before it devolves into a full blown crisis,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris.
“Thank you to Council Member Costa Constantinides’ for introducing a resolution in support of my legislation alongside Senator Gianaris which will suspend rent payments for certain residential tenants, small business commercial tenants, and certain mortgage payments,” said Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou. “May first is upon us. Most people have not gotten any help in this crisis. It is critical that we work together as City and State to ensure that our small businesses and our community members who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 are able to maintain their commercial space and/or ensure that everyone has a safe place to stay throughout the course of this pandemic. In this time of crisis and turmoil we must work together to support our community members who need it the most.”
Indeed, the outbreak has put many New Yorkers out of work – making it impossible to pay rent. A CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy survey conducted earlier this month that 35 percent of households reported someone losing their job due to COVID-19. Many non-essential small businesses have been unable to produce the revenues necessary to pay rent.
Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair of the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on three additional committees: Sanitation, Resiliency, and Technology. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.
Ydanis Rodriguez was elected to the New York City Council in 2009, representing the 10th Council District (Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill). An educator for 13 years, Ydanis co-founded Gregorio Luperon High School and the Washington Heights Health Academy. As a leading voice at the NYC Council, Ydanis has brought changes in transportation, education, economic development, housing, police reform, healthcare, environmental policy, and ensuring low-income families have an equitable path to the middle class.