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Rally in Rochester demands more protections for tenants amid pandemic

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Demonstrators rallied Thursday in front of the Monroe County Hall of Justice in downtown Rochester to advocate extended protections for tenants amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need a permanent eviction moratorium that lasts one year beyond the pandemic so that people can feel stability in their lives,” said Graham Hughes, an organizer, “So that they can take care of themselves and their neighbors and not worry about getting thrown out on the street.”

Among the demands from protesters were a continued moratorium on evictions, canceled rent and housing for homeless people.

The rally was organized by the recently-created Rochester Housing Justice Alliance.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters Thursday the moratorium on evictions is staying in place.

“No evictions as long as we’re in the middle of the epidemic,” said Cuomo. “I had done that right away by executive order. I then extended it by executive order. The Legislature then came back into session. We then wrote it into the law. I signed the law and the law is clear. Until when? Until I say COVID is over, and you know, we’ll figure out when that is.”

“Nobody can be evicted for any financial hardship that takes place during the period of the COVID crisis,” said Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to Governor Cuomo. “So that’s where we stand.”

Barbara Rivera with the Rochester City-Wide Tenants Union told News 8 extended protections are needed, especially with many out of work.

“Where am I going to go as your tenant, especially if I’m not working?” said Rivera. “I’m not going to be able to rent anywhere, I don’t have any money.”

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