Christina Jeffers is a single mother who cleans office buildings for a living. She lost her job because of the coronavirus pandemic and now doesn't know how she's going to pay the rent for her Elmhurst, Queens apartment.
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"I don't have money for rent,” Jeffers said.
Under the stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed by the president, Jeffers will get a one-time payment of $1,200. But that won't even cover her monthly rent of $1,613.
"If we don't work in March, if we don't work in April how are we going to pay May?" Jeffers said.
Last week, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order allowing tenants to miss their rental payments for 90 days. The order also suspends evictions for the same period of time.
But any missed payments will have to be made when the 90 days are up.
"They give us an eviction moratorium that now gives us some relief but that's not good enough,” Jeffers said.
She wants the government to simply cancel rent obligations. While that would put a burden on landlords, Jeffers says people who live paycheck to paycheck need relief.
"Why do we need to be under this stress when it can be solved by the governor,” Jeffers said.
Advocates say that without cancelling rent obligations.. many New Yorkers face the possibility of eviction and homelessness once the 90-day moratorium is lifted.
"We can't have a situation where we have thousands or millions of people evicted because they don't have any income so they can't pay rent,” said Tenants Political Action Committee Treasurer Michael McKee.
There than five million renters in the city., and nobody is sure how many will not be able to pay their rent on April 1, but Michael McKee of the Tenants Political Action Committee says those who cannot afford to do so need help.
"We want the Governor and the federal government to do something to relieve tenants who have lost their jobs, lost their source of income for no fault of their own,” McKee said.
When Governor Cuomo was asked about the topic at his daily briefing Tuesday he responded, "We'll deal with that when we get to it."