David Hershey-Webb – a partner at HMGDJ, one of the City’s largest tenant advocacy law firms – spoke at this month’s Four Freedoms Democratic Club meeting to give an overview of how the emergency orders have affected the legal rights of people unable to pay their rent. You can watch the video of the full meeting here (Mr. Hershey-Webb’s portion starts about 45 minutes in), but if you personally have found yourself unable to pay rent or have other housing-related issues I’d encourage you to read this FAQ for Tenants’ Rights and the Health Emergency his firm put together and to contact the Metropolitan Council on Housing with any questions.
In March the Club formed an Economic Justice Working Group tasked with finding ways to pressure the State and Federal governments to provide emergency rental assistance to households whose incomes have been affected by the crisis. The Working Group is in the process of building a large coalition of Democratic Party organizations around New York State and doing outreach to elected officials on this very topic.
One way we are hoping to build support for rent relief is by encouraging people dealing with housing insecurity during the pandemic to send in personal stories. We’ve partnered with the Manhattan Young Democrats to put together an anonymous Share Your Story tool and are building a repository of personal struggles we can share with elected officials in order to emphasize the importance of providing relief to renters.