Calling on Mayor de Blasio to Institute an Eviction Moratorium in NYC

March 12, 2020 

Dear Mayor de Blasio: 

We are deeply concerned about the impact that COVID-19 will have on New Yorkers who are at risk of eviction.  We recently released a petition to Governor Cuomo and other state leaders calling for a moratorium on evictions and a rent freeze across NY State.  While it’s imperative that action is taken immediately at the state level, there is much that New York City can and must do to protect New Yorkers. New York City doesn't have to wait for the state.  We can and must ACT NOW! 

New York City Should: 

  1. Impose a moratorium on evictions and the City's Department of Investigation should immediately direct all City Marshals to cease executing warrants of eviction until further notice. 
  2. Support the call to the state for a Moratorium on Evictions and a statewide Rent Freeze
  3. Immediately suspend further action on all pending NYCHA eviction, termination of tenancy and termination of Section 8 subsidy proceedings. 
  4. Institute a NYCHA Moratorium on commencing any new eviction, termination of tenancy or termination of Section 8 subsidy proceedings. 
  5. Direct the Department of City Administrative Services to close all housing court facilities and NYCHA administrative hearing offices to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

As our letter to the Governor states: 

New York is facing a public health crisis that is made worse by a lack of adequate housing.  COVID-19 impacts vulnerable New Yorkers the most: the elderly and those who are immunocompromised. For the 92,000 people who are homeless, this public health crisis puts them at a greater-than-average risk of exposure to the virus.

Many, many more cannot afford rent. New Yorkers are facing a loss of income -- either voluntarily or as the result of being forced to stay home from work for the protection of everyone’s health. This makes it harder to pay already unaffordable rents. Without adequate housing, the most vulnerable New Yorkers are unable to fight COVID-19 and other deadly illnesses.

If more New Yorkers are evicted in the coming days and weeks, COVID-19 could start to spread more rapidly among those who become homeless. We cannot let that nightmare become a reality. San Francisco and San Jose are currently considering a moratorium on COVID-19 related evictions. We urge you to expand on their example and lead the nation by issuing a moratorium on evictions in the face of COVID-19 - a massive public health crisis that is hitting New York harder than most other cities in the country.

Housing Court is already unsafe for the elderly and the immunocompromised. The housing crisis is so bad that every day that court is in session, courtrooms and hallways are packed with defendants, lawyers, and supporters who are fighting eviction. To drag the most vulnerable New Yorkers into Housing Court, against the advice of public health professionals, adds the cruel insult of a severe health-risk to the injury of eviction. 

Given the recommendations to cancel all large gatherings, we must remember that housing court is a large gathering.  There are over a thousand people in the Bronx housing court alone, every day.  

We are deeply disheartened by the callousness, ignorance and lack of action from the federal government.  We need you to show leadership for the health and well-being of New Yorkers, and as an example for the nation.  Our proposals are well within your power and would save the lives and homes of the city’s most vulnerable. Miami issued a moratorium on evictions for the entire Miami-Dade County.  And there is precedent for this in NYC: after 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, NYC issued a moratorium on evictions. NYC must act to meet the challenges of this current crisis. 

Stand with us in this crisis, in order to stop preventable illness, homelessness and displacement in this time of crisis, and freeze all evictions in New York NOW.



  1. Right to Counsel NYC Coalition 
  2. Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY 
  3. National Organization of Legal Services, UAW Local 2320
  5. CAMBA Legal Services Workers United (UAW 2325) 
  6. Coalition for the Homeless
  7. Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA), New Settlement Apartments
  8. Cooper Square Committee
  9. Chhaya Community Development Corporation
  10. Housing Conservation Coordinators
  11. The West Side Neighborhood Alliance 
  12. Akron Mobile Home Park Tenants Association
  13. Volunteers of Legal Service (VOLS)
  14. United Neighbors Organization (UNO)
  15. Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
  16. New York Communities for Change (NYCC) 
  17. Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC) 
  18. The Bronx Defenders
  19. Red Hook Initiative 
  21. Housing Court Answers (HCA)
  22. New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)
  23. Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD)
  24. District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
  25. Municipal Employees Legal Services (MELS)
  26. New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
  27. Legal Services Staff Association, NOLSW/UAW 2320
  28. Tenants PAC
  29. Woodside On The Move 
  30. Met Council on Housing 
  31. Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC) 
  32. Lefrak City Tenants Association 
  33. Housing Rights Initiative 
  34. Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB)
  35. Housing Organizers for People Empowerment (HOPE)
  36. Churches United for Fair Housing (CUFFH)
  37. Communities Resist
  38. Mobilization for Justice (MFJ) 
  39. Goddard Riverside Law Project
  40. Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem
  41. Flatbush Tenant Coalition
  42. Fifth AvenueCommittee, Brooklyn
  43. Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Brooklyn
  44. Crown Heights Tenant Union (CHTU)
  45. Housing Justice for All 
  46. Central Park Gardens Tenants’ Association
  47. CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities
  48. Tenants & Neighbors 
  49. City Employees Union Local 237 Teamsters
  50. Art Against Displacement
  51. Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side
  52. Strycker’s Bay Neighborhood Council
  53. The DOME Project
  54. Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A
  55. The Urban Justice Center 
  56. JASA/Legal Services for Elder Justice
  57. GOLES
  58. Make the Road NY 
  59. IMPACCT Brooklyn 
  60. Ridgewood Tenants Union (RTU)
  61. Association of Legal Aid Attorneys – UAW Local 2325.   
  62. The Legal Aid Society 
  63. Bushwick Housing Independence Project
  64. GAPIMNY: Empowering Queer & Trans Asian Pacific Islanders
  65. Student Planning Action Network (SPAN)’
  66. CAMBA Legal Services, Inc.
  68. NYS Poor People’s Campaign 
  69. Teamsters Local 237 Municipal Employees Union
  70. Southwest Brooklyn Tenant Union (SWBTU)
  71. New Sanctuary Coalition
  72. Anti-Eviction Mapping Project (AEMP)
  73. Rent Justice Coalition (RJC)
  74. NYSNA - New York State Nurses Association
  75. TakeRoot Justice
  76. Chelsea Coalition on Housing
  77. Chelsea Tenant Action Committee
  78. Riverside Edgecombe Neighborhood Alliance
  79. VOCAL-NY
  80. Safety Net Activists 
  81. CUNY Law Housing Rights Project
  82. Sixth Street Community Center
  83. Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) 
  84. Southside United HDFC-Los Sures
  85. Ebbets Field Tenants Organization(EFTO)
  86. Zara Tenants Coalition
  87. Brooklyn Tenant Lawyers Network (BTLN)
  88. Housing Data Coalition
  89. Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (UAW Local 2325)
  90. Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of New York
  91. Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
  92. Kite’s Nest
  93. Catholic Migration Services
  94. New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
  95. Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness 
  96. Part of the Solution (POTS)
  97. MinKwon Center for Community Action 
  98. Northern Manhattan Is Not for Sale
  99. CACF - Coalition for Asian American Children and Families 
  100. Neighbors Together
  101. New York Law School Housing Rights Clinic
  102. 37-52 89th Street Tenants' Association
  103. 28-18 38th Ave Tenants' Association 
  104. 94-26 34th Road Tenants' Association
  105. The Bridge Fund of New York City
  106. Performance Space New York
  107. The Poetry Project
  108. Jews For Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ)