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Gov. Hochul Announces Special Session Of Legislature To Discuss Extending Eviction Moratorium

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The state Legislature will return to Albany on Wednesday for a special session on potentially extending the moratorium on evictions, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday night.

Sources told CBS2's Lisa Rozner the lawmakers will discuss extending the moratorium until January 2022.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down the federal moratorium.

At a Midtown rally calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to cancel rent until June 2022, Martina Romero said in Spanish with her daughter Kimberly Martinez translating that her hours have been cut in half, her husband has fallen ill, and she is behind on rent.

"My mom is working some couple jobs overnight in the morning," Martinez said, "and she's afraid we might go into a shelter because we have nowhere else to go."

Romero, a Williamsburg mom of three, is one of thousands who've applied to the state's Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which can cover up to 12 months of back-owed rent and utility bills, but she hasn't heard back.

"There is a program that is being administered by the state, that program thus far has failed," Hochul said.

"We think that there needs to be a lot more targeted outreach that reaches very vulnerable communities," added Ellen Davidson, staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society.

Hochul is pledging to bring in a "dream team" to speed up the disbursement of the $2.7 billion in federal funding. The state claims around 30% has been approved or distributed, but critics believe the number is much lower.

"We are still in middle of pandemic, so we don't want to see evictions. But we also know that homeowners and landlords, particularly small landlords, are struggling," Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said.

Heastie said plans to appropriate extra emergency funds to landlords are in the works.

But Crown Heights apartment building owner Lincoln Eccles said the city isn't giving him a break on the roughly $200,000 he owes in taxes and bills, and the moratorium extension will discourage tenants to come to the table.

"The nonsensical thing that the politicians seem to not understand is that the ... if the money comes into us, it's going to come right back to the community and the city and the state," Eccles said.

"We will definitely go back into court if the moratorium does not provide a mechanism for owners to be able to challenge the financial hardship of the tenant," said Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association.

Landlords can apply for emergency rental assistance from the state, but they need the tenant to fill out the application as well in order to get the money.

Click here to see if you qualify for emergency rental assistance.

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