By Kristin Richardson Jordan and Chi Ossé
It is the beginning of the month and rent is due.
Nearly 70% of New Yorkers rent their homes. Although the eviction moratorium has been extended, rent debts will continue to accrue and cripple our community unless we cancel rent payments.
We are facing the worst economic and health crisis of our time. There is still no vaccine to treat COVID-19. Families have received only one stimulus check since April. Millions remain unemployed. It is simply unconscionable to require low to middle income New Yorkers to pay their rent during this unprecedented moment in history.
As Black Lives Matter activists and local community organizers as well as prospective New York City Council Candidates for Central Harlem and Brooklyn, we recognize that canceling rent is essential to the future sustainability of our city and the welfare of our people. When the rent moratorium is eventually lifted, renters who have not been able to keep up with their rent will be subject to non-payment claims filed by their landlords. Repaying accrued rent during a pandemic is not feasible for the millions of New Yorkers who are struggling during this crisis — especially those who are already living below the poverty line. Holding these families accountable for past due rent payments will result in an influx of homelessness.
Our elected officials can still decide to cancel rent and forgive all accrued debt thereby bringing relief to millions of struggling New Yorkers.
We demand a total and immediate cancellation of rent payments.
Kristin Richardson Jordan (KRJ), Candidate for New York City Council District 9 Kristin is a poet, local activist, speaker, teacher, DSA member, Black queer woman, and third-generation Harlemite on a mission to disrupt District 9 (Central Harlem) with radical love. Started almost a year and a half before the murder of George Floyd, her Kristin for H.A.R.L.E.M. political platform includes advocacy for police accountability, abolition, affordable housing, redistribution of resources, senior care, gun control, education, and environmental justice. She is interested in making change both through her grassroots campaign and through a community-based participatory democracy once elected and has drafted policy on each of her HARLEM platform points. Find out more and get involved at KristinForHarlem.com.
Chi Ossé is a third-generation Brooklynite, activist, and political candidate, who grew up in North Crown Heights. Ossé is playing a key role in the revitalization of the Black Lives Matters Movement by marching alongside Warriors in the Garden, a collective of activists. Chi knows that City Council is supposed to be a check upon police, education, and the criminal justice system, so Chi took it upon himself to run for office and fight against the inequities that have always been visible in his community. Please join the campaign for Ossé 2021 by signing up for the mailing list, following his social media, and greeting Chi as he canvasses the streets of District 36. His website is osse2021.com.