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Protesters in Midtown demand rent relief from Gov. Hochul as many face eviction

New York renters criticize Gov. Hochul's budget as eviction fight ramps up 02:01

NEW YORK -- An eviction fight is ramping up in New York now that the moratorium is over.

Many tenants still struggling during the pandemic are afraid they'll lose their homes, and they're demanding action from Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Protesters marched up Seventh Avenue on Wednesday and descended on the Sheraton in Midtown, where Democrats are holding their state convention.

Demonstrators are demanding that Hochul pour money into rent relief, as many tenants face eviction after the pandemic.

"Where I'm living now, my rent is really high. It's above what I am bringing home, and I'm living like paycheck-to-paycheck," said Charmaine Cox, of Crown Heights.

Cox told CBS2's Dick Brennan she lives with her daughter and grandson and says every month is a struggle.

"I'm a still working-class parent and grandmother, and we need shelter. I need a roof over my head," she said.

The state's Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP, ran out of money and left many applicants frustrated.

"Think about how ERAP don't have enough funding, but you still have the application open for tenants. Thousands and thousands of New Yorkers are signing up each day and every day but not getting no hear-back from ERAP," said Cynthia Norris, with NY Communities for Change.

In her budget, the governor set aside $2 billion for pandemic relief and a portion of that will likely go for rent relief.

"I'll work with the legislature to identify the most impactful use of these funds in the short term," Hochul said.

"We would love to see all or most of that $2 billion go to rental relief directly," said Jay Martin, with the Community Housing Improvement Program.

Martin represents 4,000 small property owners around New York City who he says have been hard hit too and back rent relief.

"Our property owners don't want to have to evict their clients en masse, so to prevent that, we need the government to help us cover the cost of housing that's already been provided," he said.

But even when state budget money is allocated for rent relief, a payoff could still be months away, forcing tenants to hold on even longer.

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