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Growing Concern Pandemic Could Cause Spike In Homeless Population

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - As more people start to return to work, it could take much longer for employees to rebound financially.

There is a growing concern over how those still unemployed will pay their rent.

CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas spoke with city leaders about what resources are available.

Protesters took aim at housing courts as they partially reopened across New York City.

Among the concerns, landlords can begin to file paperwork for evictions that will not be executed until Gov. Andrew Cuomo's moratorium expires at the end of August.

"Until he cancels rent and puts protection for tenants to not be evicted for at least a year until this crisis is over, we're going to be here fighting," said Sarah Guillet.


Landlord Lincoln Eccles is not getting full rent from about 40 percent of his two dozen units in Crown Heights.

It means he struggles to pay his property taxes. But, he says evictions are the last resort.

"No landlord I know of would simply evict somebody because they're two months or three months behind because of COVID," said Eccles.

Last month, the city's unemployment rate was just over 18 percent, higher than the state's.

But, it does not fully account for everyone who is struggling to make ends meet.

The economic fallout has Crown Heights resident Vaughn Armour choosing between bare necessities.

The furloughed drumline instructor, who is also on social security, only pays part of his rent, especially since he cannot get unemployment.

"I have to go pantries because I need food," said Armour.

By calling 311, tenants can be connected to legal representation for landlord disputes, sign up for food benefits and see if they qualify for one time rental assistance.

But, it's unclear how much money there is to go around.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Vicki Been, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, told Cline-Thomas the city is "terribly concerned" about the number of people who could become homeless as a result.

Been said the city needs more help from the state and federal government, but she would not disclose funding discussions had with the City Council.

Been also would not share the city's projections on how bad it could be.

"You're talking about people sleeping on the subways, there are going to be people sleeping in the street," said Armour.

New York City has partnered with developers to create 200 affordable units for homeless families.

More are under constructions.

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