BUFFALO, N.Y. — The loss of some protection from eviction and foreclosure in New York is likely to have far-reaching impacts on families at the edge of homelessness.
Governor Hochul's office let the state's nearly two-year-old moratorium come to an end Saturday. The moratorium was meant to keep residents in their homes during the COVID pandemic and involved rental assistance options for both tenants and landlords who weren't able to pay for rent after falling on hard times or weren't receiving it.
Without a moratorium, shelters such as Family Promise of Western New York now expect to see a spike in homelessness.
"I think the major concern, certainly from a homeless point of you, from a human service point of view, from the county's point of view, we are going to see a surge in homelessness," said Luanne Firestone, the executive director at Family Promise of WNY.
While the end of the moratorium is a large factor, Firestone added that issues such as homeless overcrowding and a lack of shelter support existed long before the pandemic, but were exacerbated by it.
Firestone added that Family Promise is already above capacity. The shelter specializes in keeping families together, moms, dads, and kids, who in other homeless shelters may be separated.
"Renters have expressed for a long time now, they are simply waiting to evict, and we know half a million New Yorkers are behind in rent," Firestone said.
She said the quickest way families can get assistance if they anticipate becoming homeless is to call 211. Legal action, appealing their eviction based on hardship may also buy them some time, but the need for a more permanent solution remains.