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Rochester City Council passes eviction relief legislation

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Corn Hill Landing in downtown Rochester.

Rochester City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night in favor of legislation from Mayor Lovely Warren’s office to help prevent evictions and homelessness.

“I could not imagine doing anything other than take advantage of, and make available, support and services that would begin to address the needs that people are encountering," said City Council President Loretta Scott.

About 4,500 people in Rochester are facing possible evictions during the pandemic, according to the mayor’s office.

“We have a number of people in our city that have been suffering, that cannot afford to pay their rent,” said Warren. “We wanted to utilize the money that the federal government allocated for the CARES Act to actually put it on the ground and give it back to the people who need it most.”

The legislation includes more than $2.8 million in federal funding for rent assistance, landlord reimbursement, and legal representation.

“Right to counsel is something that I think will really prove to be beneficial in preserving people in their homes as it gives them access to legal representation which has been shown to drastically reduce judgements in favor of the landlord,” said City Council member Mary Lupien.

The New York state eviction moratorium is scheduled to be lifted on Sept. 6. 

Groups like the Rochester City-wide Tenant Union have been calling attention to an anticipated surge of eviction notices, which they say threatens to leave many people on the streets in the middle of a pandemic.

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