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New Yorkers Protest Expiration Of Eviction Moratorium, Demand Rent Relief

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The eviction moratorium that was put in place to help hundreds of thousands of struggling tenants during the pandemic is set to expire in New York on Saturday.

Crowds came out Wednesday in Manhattan to protest the move while lawmakers say they're working on ways to get more relief.

Protesters demanding rent relief marched on so-called Billionaire's Row on 57th Street, where some of the priciest homes in the city sit. They are furious that the moratorium on evictions will expire on Saturday.

"I just feel like I don't know to how to get out from under the weight of all of it, you know? That's a really frustrating and dangerous place to be," Crown Heights resident Esteban Giron said.

He told CBS2's Dick Brennan he's behind in the rent and suffered from long-term COVID.

"Nobody wants to owe rent. Nobody likes to be in that position. We want to be able to pay for adequate housing, but it's kind of impossible to do right now," Giron said.

Giron and the marchers say they need more time to get more money, but with the eviction ban lapsing, pressure is building on all sides, including landlords.

"What have the past two years been like for you?" Brennan asked landlord Lincoln Eccles.

"Extremely difficult. There has been barely enough money to stay afloat and cover my obligations," Eccles said.

Eccles has 14 units in Crown Heights and says he's in debt over $300,000.

"It's just a dance, every day, every month. What can I pay? How much can I pay? Who can I go to, where can I go to for funds to cover the costs in front of me?" he said.

Gov. Kathy Hochul says she is going to ask the federal government for more money. The feds said they were setting aside money that other states didn't use it.

"We asked the Department of Treasury for $978 million of that money to come to New York," Hochul said. "That money, despite efforts, resulted in $27 million ... so that's not gonna get us over the finish line."

The governor says she's now consulting with the legislature over the next steps.

"What does this mean for the politicians?" Brennan asked political analyst Hank Sheinkopf.

"This is a lose-lose all around. Why? If they vote for the moratorium, then the small property owners lose. If they vote against the moratorium, some of the people who live in those properties think they'll lose. It's just not a win-win situation under any circumstances," he said.

With the moratorium expiring, the state has reopened its rent-relief portal, which can slow eviction proceedings, but the state will need more federal money to help save renters.

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