On September 29, 2020, NYSHealth hosted a webinar on the recent eviction moratoriums and whether they protect those most in need.
Sheltering-in-place is considered one of the best defenses in fighting the spread of COVID-19. However, people with unstable housing may not be able to shelter in place and are also more likely to have chronic medical conditions that put them at higher risk for contracting COVID-19.
Before the pandemic, the shortage of affordable housing was already an ongoing crisis. At the beginning of 2020, nearly 11 million renter households were spending more than 50% of their income on rent, with another 10 million spending more than 30% on rent. And even at the height of the economic recovery, evictions were rampant, happening at a rate of seven per minute nationally.
Governor Cuomo first issued a statewide moratorium on evictions in March and recently extended it to October 20th. In early September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its own moratorium on evictions. Both actions are intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus and to avoid having renters end up in shelters or other crowded living conditions.
Laura Rolnick, Esq., Director of Eviction & Reentry Programs at Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County, spoke about the eviction moratoriums, their limitations, and actions that public health stakeholders can take to protect the health of their communities.