Protesters call for extension of eviction moratorium

Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition Managing Director Michael Gattine-Suarez faces Assemblywoman Didi Barrett’s employees, Office Director Matt Hartzog, right, and Communications Director Gunnar Wordon, left, in front of Barrett’s office at 420 Warren Street Monday. Gattine-Suarez holds a sign that says “Extend eviction moratorium.” Aliya Schneider/Columbia-Greene Media

HUDSON — The Hudson-Catskill Housing Coalition held a protest in front of Assemblywoman Didi Barrett’s office at 420 Warren St. Monday calling for an extension of the moratorium on evictions.

Between 20 and 25 protesters gathered to voice their concerns about residents at risk of being evicted and to ask Barrett to support an extension of the eviction moratorium.

The issue of displacement is both one triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and one that the city has faced for years, protesters said.

The city’s housing crisis is reducing the population of people of color in the community, 2nd Ward Alderwoman and Common Council Majority Leader Tiffany Garriga said.

Barrett, D-106, was not in her office during the demonstration but her employees, Office Director Matt Hartzog and Communications Director Gunnar Wordon came outside to hear protesters and said they would relay the messages to Barrett.

Garriga, Mayor Kamal Johnson, 1st Ward Alderwoman and Common Council Minority Leader Rebecca Wolff, Mayoral Aide and 3rd Ward Supervisor Michael Chameides and Youth Department Director Nick Zachos were among the protesters.

Garriga invited people passing by to join the protest. A few drivers honked their car horns and raised thumbs up in support of the protest as they passed by.

Chameides said the county has hundreds of thousands of dollars set aside for COVID-19 relief for housing but people cannot access the funds during the moratorium. Those funds should be unlocked before the moratorium ends, he said.

“Why would we design the system like that?” Chameides said to Barrett’s employees. “This is our system, that we’re designing.”

Check back for more on this developing story.

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