Eviction 'floodgate' has opened in NYC due to rising rents, end of pandemic era rental aid

Dan Krauth Image
Thursday, February 16, 2023
Eviction "floodgate" has opened in NYC adding to housing crisis
There have already been close to 600 tenants with eviction warrants executed against them since the new year started. Dan Krauth has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The housing crisis in New York City is about to get worse, with more than 70,000 people sleeping in shelters a night, many additional families could become homeless due to evictions.

The pandemic eviction moratoriums and emergency rental assistance programs have run out. Thousands of landlords are now filing eviction notices due to tenants not paying back rent.

"It's very difficult," said a husband and father of two who didn't want to be identified.

He said he's embarrassed because he owes about $17,000 in back rent.

"It was very frustrating for me not to have the money to be able to pay the rent, I fell behind," he said.

He currently lives in the Bronx and works as an Uber driver. He's able to pay his current rent, but not the $17,000 he owes in back rent.

During the height of the pandemic he couldn't work after having surgery and after having to pay thousands of dollars to have his car repaired. He's working overtime now but said it's impossible to catch up.

He's not alone. More than 100,000 families received eviction notices in New York City alone last year.

That's more than double the number of evictions in 2020 and this year could surpass pre-pandemic numbers.

There have already been close to 600 tenants with eviction warrants executed against them since the new year started with most of the filings happening in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

"I need stability, I can't go to work wondering where I'm going to sleep when I get out of work," said Destiny Chancy who was recently evicted from her Brooklyn apartment.

There are people who are working to help these tenants, but there are nowhere near enough attorneys available for everyone who needs help.

"Oh it has been hectic," said Kristie Ortiz of Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, also known as BKA.

"It's incrementally going back to normal and unfortunately the pace upon which it's going back to normal, it's so much faster than we anticipated," said Ortiz, who represents low-income tenants in Brooklyn. "Legal service providers are doing our best to try to stop that flow but the eviction mill is just churning as fast as it can."

"Now the floodgates have basically been open for evictions," Ortiz said.

Tenants have a legal right to counsel, but some feel like they're navigating the system alone, where one missed hearing could mean being out on the street.

As a result, some people are choosing to leave New York City altogether for places that are more affordable. The height of the pandemic may be over but the exodus continues.

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