A Brooklyn legislator wants to eliminate New York’s winter evictions.
A rally supporting a bill that would forbid sheriffs and marshals from carrying out eviction notices across the state during the coldest time of the year was held on Thursday by state senator Zellnor Myrie (D-Brooklyn).
Tenant advocates joined Myrie outside of Brooklyn Housing Court to draw attention to the proposal, which supporters claim will stop cruel evictions throughout the winter and aid in easing the city’s chronic homelessness crisis.
Myrie stated, “If it’s too chilly to turn off the heat, it’s too cold to be outside.” “During the past few years, we’ve seen how important preventing evictions is to public health and safety, not only as an issue of renters’ rights.”
Assemblywoman Anna Kelles (D-Ithaca), also a sponsor of the Winter Moratorium on Evictions Act legislation, would prevent evictions between November 1 and April 15 every year.
According to Myrie, the policy was inspired by eviction moratoria at the height of the COVID-19 crisis, saving hundreds of families from homelessness.
As the epidemic ban ended early last year, evictions have risen across the five boroughs.
Data from the city shows that from January 2022, when the COVID limitations expired, to last month, marshals removed close to 4,400 families or people from apartments.
That number still represents a small portion of the yearly evictions pre-epidemic. The Bureau of Investigation reports that marshals conducted approximately 17,000 evictions in the city in 2019.
“Stopping eviction procedures during the winter months is a vital step towards housing justice for everybody,” Myrie said. “Our city and state are amid a homelessness and housing affordability crisis.”
Advocates for tenants concurred, stating that the plan would give New Yorkers who were late on their rent or concerned about ending up on the streets during a cold snap some piece of mind.
Fidele Albert, a tenant organizer with Flatbush, stated, “Respect low-income people and halt all court proceedings from moving forward and evicting people and their families who are losing their homes.”