August 17, 2021

The Partnership for the Homeless Statement on how ending the eviction moratoria hurts everyone

(New York, NY) — The Partnership for the Homeless issued the following statement today regarding the financial impact of New York allowing the eviction moratorium to end without adequately taking measures to prevent mass homelessness.

“Ending the moratoria before rental assistance has been provided and putting the more than one million New Yorkers behind on their rent at risk of homelessness is neither fiscally sound nor humane. If we are serious about rebuilding our city post COVID, we must immediately safeguard people in their homes as a way of creating the requisite foundation from which people can return to school and work and get the economy thriving again.

The various moratoria, for as long as they last, are helping toward that goal. What is often lost in conversations about the current housing crisis is that in the absence of fully funding and disseminating needed rental assistance ending the moratoria are a lose, lose, lose situation — for the tenants that would lose their homes, the property owners who would lose months of rental payments and incur housing court costs, and our City and State government who would end up with a shelter bill that is three times more expensive than paying for people to keep their homes. 

Whereas the average monthly rent for the families we typically serve at The Partnership is $1,700 (or, about $20,000 a year), it costs approximately $68,000 annually to keep a family in the New York City shelter system.

In addition, the families most at risk of eviction are women of color-headed households with children who have over the past 18 months borne the health brunt of the pandemic and are now bearing the economic brunt as they struggle to remain in their homes.

Moreover, the average rent arrears bill for the families we have served over the past year has only averaged at $4,000 per household, as many have utilized savings, borrowed from family members, and scrambled to find new work to keep up with their bills.

Now as they follow the rules seeking aid from the federally-funded Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) in New York State, many are waiting endlessly for the payments to be released and are facing threats from property owners who are fatigued by the wait. And, for many more families, ERAP will run out of funds before they can even apply because the existing federal funding will only be able to cater to fewer than half of the estimated national need.

Today’s housing crisis can be solved by immediate action at the local and federal level. We need the local government to expedite the release of existing ERAP funds, and we need the federal government to make adequate rental assistance funding available to the states and municipalities. And, in the meantime the moratoria need to stay in place.”

About The Partnership for the Homeless

The Partnership for the Homeless seeks to solve homelessness by preventing it with robust programming for New Yorkers at-risk of or experiencing homelessness—now and for future generations. Our work is putting the building blocks in place to address immediate housing needs, create stability through important health interventions, disrupt generational homelessness, and change the public narrative about homelessness. Learn more at www.partnershipforthehomeless.org.