ALBANY — Frustrated tenants struggling to pay rent amid the coronavirus crisis took their complaints straight to Gov. Cuomo on Friday as they staged multiple protests across the city and in the state capital.
As thousands of New Yorkers signed off on a planned rent strike for the month of May, demonstrators descended upon the Capitol Building in Albany and converged on Cuomo’s Manhattan office to demand rent relief.
Massive banners hung from the 59th St. Bridge around midday made the message clear as demonstrators called on the governor to “cancel rent.”
“A lot of people are suffering economically because of this crisis and we are asking for the governor’s support,” said Alavaro Paulino Jr., who led a mariachi band outside Cuomo’s Third Ave. office.
Cars rolled by with signs calling on the governor to “make the billionaires pay” and “cancel rent” jutting from their windows as mask-clad protesters petitioned Cuomo to provide relief for “excluded workers” that would include undocumented immigrants who are ineligible for unemployment or federal benefits.
An online sign-up for a rent strike, organized by tenant advocacy groups Housing Justice for All and New York Communities for Change, drew thousands of signatories who said they won’t have the funds to pay this month.
Cuomo has so far stood by his order barring evictions, but has resisted calls for a rent freeze.