By Tyronda James
With many Rochesterians unemployed and facing possible evictions during the pandemic, there is hope!
The City of Rochester has submitted legislation to City council to begin programs with the goal of eviction and homelessness prevention related to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Mayor Lovely A. Warren spoke the legislation August 18, following the 10 a.m. Revitalize Rochester Fund News Conference announcing support and Rochester City Council that evening unanimously voted in favor of Warren’s proposed legislation.
“We recognize the unique challenge of this economic crisis,” Warren said. “And we must do all we can to alleviate the pain and suffering of our most vulnerable residents and their families who will soon be confronted with the prospect of homelessness.”
“Even in a pandemic, safe, quality and affordable housing remains a fundamental human right, and we must do all we can to protect this right for our residents,” said Mayor Lovely A. Warren in a recent conference.
It will include more than $2.8 million in federal funding for landlord reimbursement and legal representation allocation. As well as funds toward avoiding and recovering from eviction and homelessness prevention programs.
The funding is following more than $3.5 million approved since May for programs in support of tenants and landlords, also the human-service agency focus on evictions and homelessness prevention.
“We have a number of people in our city that have been suffering, that cannot afford to pay their rent,” said Warren.
“We wanted to utilize the money that the federal government allocated for the CARES Act to actually put it on the ground and give it back to the people who need it most.”
With the New York State moratorium on evictions, put in effect in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, scheduled to end Sept. 6, this can be a relief for those affected. The ending of the NYS moratorium would mean landlords would be able to take tenants to court for missing rent payments.
“I am proud of the programs we have launched to support the efforts of our many partners who have long been dedicated to this cause and are ready to step up to help our residents at this critical time,” Mayor Warren said.
To access assistance
- For legal assistance, the “Right to Counsel” pilot program can provide the free legal assistance. The program will be operated by Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County, Inc.; The Legal Aid Society of Rochester; and Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. Those seeking legal aid are advised to call the Volunteer Legal Services Project at 585-232-3051 or go to www.vlsprochester.org/apply-online.
- For eviction and homelessness prevention, those who need assistance or facing eviction due to pandemic-related reasons should review the city of Rochester’s Rent Assistance Guide or contact the Catholic Family Center’s Rent Assistance call center at 585-232-2050.
For the Landlord Reimbursement Grant Program, landlords interested in applying for grants to make minor repairs to rental units, should visit: www.cityofrochester.gov/HomeRepairGrants.