August 11, 2022

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AOC calls for end to 'preferential treatment' for wealthy in coronavirus response

outbreak.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has issued a 90-day suspension of mortgage payments to alleviate the economic impact of the pandemic, but has not done the same for renters. Instead, evictions will be suspended for the same period but those rent payments will accumulate.

“If you called for a suspension or moratorium on mortgage payments, then we should also call for that same treatment on rent payments,” congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, whose district represents 650,000 people in the Bronx and Queens, said on Tuesday.

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“We’re kind of creating a class and race issue. We’re essentially rewarding and offering preferential treatment to landowners and folks who are more wealthy, and we’re not offering that same kind of relief to renters,” she told The Brian Lehrer Show.

ShapeCreated with Sketch.Coronavirus turns New York into a ghost town

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An empty street in Manhattan borough following the outbreak of coronavirus disease in New York City
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A cab drives down at Seventh Avenue in Times Square
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Syracuse University campus is seen almost empty as number of universities are moving all classes to e-learning, due to the coronavirus outbreak
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Empty street is seen near Lincoln tunnel
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Empty chairs are seen near Hudson yards
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A mobile souvenir shop sits in an empty parking lot at Allianz Field as a match between the New York Red Bulls at Minnesota United FC is postponed
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An empty Jacob K Javits Convention Center
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A person sits in an empty eating hall
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Empty parking lots
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Jacob K Javits Convention Center
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Empty retail stores
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Empty street is seen outside the New York Times building
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Empty parking lots
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26/26 Manhattan

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1/26

An empty street in Manhattan borough following the outbreak of coronavirus disease in New York City
Reuters

2/26

A cab drives down at Seventh Avenue in Times Square
Reuters

3/26 Manhattan

Reuters

4/26

Syracuse University campus is seen almost empty as number of universities are moving all classes to e-learning, due to the coronavirus outbreak
Reuters

5/26 Manhattan

Empty street is seen near Lincoln tunnel
Reuters

6/26 Manhattan

An empty restaurant
Reuters

7/26 Manhattan

Reuters

8/26 Manhattan

Reuters

9/26 Manhattan

Empty chairs are seen near Hudson yards
Reuters

10/26 Manhattan

Reuters

11/26 Manhattan

An empty restaurant
Reuters

12/26

A mobile souvenir shop sits in an empty parking lot at Allianz Field as a match between the New York Red Bulls at Minnesota United FC is postponed
USA Today Sports/Reuters

13/26 Manhattan

Reuters

14/26 Manhattan

An empty Jacob K Javits Convention Center
Reuters

15/26 Syracuse University

A person sits in an empty eating hall
Reuters

16/26 Manhattan

Empty parking lots
Reuters

17/26 Manhattan

Reuters

18/26 Manhattan

Jacob K Javits Convention Center
Reuters

19/26 Seventh Avenue

Reuters

20/26 Manhattan

Reuters

21/26 Manhattan

Reuters

22/26 Manhattan

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23/26 Manhattan

Empty retail stores
Reuters

24/26 Manhattan

Empty street is seen outside the New York Times building
Reuters

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Empty parking lots
Reuters

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The median household income for homeowners is close to double that of renter households. The concern among many renters is that the measures introduced by Mr Cuomo will only delay the inevitable.

“Tenants are being told that … just wait a couple months and then you’re going to be evicted,” Ellen Davidson, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society, told CBS New York. “Over 60 per cent of households in New York City are renters, and if they turn their back on renters, this city will fall apart.”

More than three million people in the US filed for unemployment the week of 16 March, around five times the previous high in 1982.

Lower-income workers are significantly more likely to be employed in industries that are vulnerable to these losses, according to an analysis by New York University released this week.

Restaurants, hotels and other service sector jobs have suffered since the outbreak began.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez said that part-time and low-wage workers are in jobs that are still operating but who can’t do their work from home, such as delivery drivers and grocery store workers “are overwhelmingly lower-income. They’re black. They’re brown … and they still have to pay rent tomorrow.

“There’s absolutely … racial and class inequities baked into the crisis,” she told WNYC. “If you are able to stay home. You are a privileged person in this moment.”

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People who have recently been laid off will be facing their first rent payment since becoming unemployed on 1 April.

A recent survey found that around 40 percent of New Yorkers would be unable to pay their rent if they lost a paycheck due to the pandemic.

Mr Cuomo has hinted that the policy over rent payments could be revisited later on.

“We’ll deal with that when we get to it. I hear you. There has to be some smoothing,” he said.

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