Rochester protest against evictions as state moratorium expiration looms

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — In protest of New York’s moratorium on evictions that is set to expire on August 31, local activists gathered to demand permanent rental protections in the City of Rochester Monday.

New York’s eviction moratorium is set to expire Tuesday. Highlighted as one of her priorities as the state’s latest chief executive, Gov. Kathy Hochul urged tenants to apply for NY’s moratorium relief program. Despite a total of $800 million sent to tenants and landlords already, New Yorkers are calling for change.

Rochester faced around 8,000 evictions each year before the COVID-19 pandemic. That number is set to dramatically increase following the end of New York’s eviction moratorium.

In demand of protection from eviction, members of Rochester’s Tenant Union and renters gathered outside the Monroe County Courthouse to ask for an extension.

Some members of Rochester’s City council — along with people at risk of being evicted — also called for five laws to be passed, including Good Cause Eviction Protections.

For many, the moratorium was their last line of defense as they question if they have a roof over their heads tomorrow. Now they’re racing to apply for the more than $39 million allocated for Rental Assistance Funds.

As of July 14, over 2600 applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance funds are pending.

Those in the Tenants Union complain the process is too slow and requires a lot of information landlords and tenants must both turn in — which doesn’t always happen.  

“Our local rental assistance program lacks the protections of the state level,” Tenants Union Communications Director Ritti Singh said. “So, in Monroe County if you apply for rental assistance and your application is pending, you can still get evicted. The state level program is much stronger than our local program.”

$19 million in regional housing relief funds still left over as eviction notices inch closer to thousands of front doors.  

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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