Advocates for homeless people in New York are urging New York officials to do more to aid people who are on the verge of losing a place to live amid an economic crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Family Homelessness Coalition on Tuesday cheered Gov. Andrew Cuomo's move to free up $60 million in unused federal aid for rent relief. But they also argued more work is needed on homelessness mitigation and prevention to aid families who are struggling during the pandemic.
"These include extending and strengthening the eviction moratorium, investing in a statewide approach to expand access to rent subsidies and adjust long-term rent assistance to reflect fair market rates, and continuing to invest in supportive and affordable housing development with special attention paid to address the needs of families," the group said in a statement.
New York's unemployment rate stood above 9% in October just as COVID-19 cases once again began to surge in the state and the rest of the country. The economic trouble has affected working-class people in sectors like hospitality.
A federal aid package extended some benefits for small businesses and workers who have lost their jobs during the pandemic remains under debate in Congress.
"New York families are juggling enough -- virtual learning, lost jobs and opportunities, trying to keep themselves safe from a deadly virus -- the last thing they should have to worry about this holiday season is if their children will have a roof over their heads next month," the group said. "We urge Governor Cuomo to go farther to ensure New York families can stay safely in their homes and avoid the life-altering trauma of homelessness.”