EAST NEW YORK, Brooklyn — Tenants in neighborhoods like East New York in Brooklyn are bracing for August 20, when a state eviction moratorium on COVID-related evictions end and housing court reopens.
“It’s scary, its scary, I don’t want to be in a shelter, I don’t want to be homeless,” tenant Jay Tee Spurgeon explained. He lost his job just before the start of the pandemic.
“It's been hard, I received a letter from my landlord previously,” he added. “She’s going to be taking me to court.”
New York City is launching a landlord/tenant mediation project to help hundreds of families avoid housing court by working out a solution in Community Dispute Resolution Centers.
Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Louise Carroll explained “we don't want to put residents through the trauma of the eviction process just to get help.”
The centers will open first in neighborhoods deeply impacted by coronavirus, like East New York, where Chris Banks has helped tenants for over a decade.
He welcomes the help but has concerns about some community members and whether they will be eligible.
“We have a lot of residents that live in non-traditional housing situations where they are renting a room,” he said.