PIX-11: Local leaders call for Cuomo to provide rent relief in budget

RIVERDALE, the Bronx — Queens State Sen. Michael Gianaris wants New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to set aside $2.2 billion on rent relief as part of the state budget.

"The estimates are it's a little over $2 billion in unpaid rent over the last year that people have,” Gianaris told PIX11 News.

In December New York State passed one of the strongest eviction moratoriums in the nation. While the moratorium will keep New Yorkers in their homes until May, it's not enough.

“What we found is that didn't really give anybody any peace of mind or any relief,” explained Cea Weaver with Housing Justice for All.

The eviction moratorium does not include rent relief and tenants like Haydee Villanueva already owe their landlords thousands in back rent.

“My anxiety and depression has through the roof,” Villanueva said.

Sen. Gianaris hopes with the Biden administration in office, a federal bailout will provide funds for tenants.

New York State is currently facing a $15 billion deficit for the next fiscal year.

“This administration has supported our tenants even before the pandemic with a $20 billion affordable housing plan, and is advancing a $1.3 billion rent relief program that will further bolster rent protections the Governor has implemented since the start of the pandemic, including eviction moratoriums," a New York State Division of the Budget spokesperson said. "New York already sends $23 billion more to the federal government than it gets back in return, and we should all be keeping our attention on getting New York its fair share of funding from Washington rather than pushing policies that will undermine our competitiveness and ability to recover.”

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