Protesters demand action on rent, eviction issues outside governor’s address

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A major issue Gov. Kathy Hochul addressed during the State of the State is housing.

Protesters outside her speech on Tuesday made it clear they want action from Hochul’s administration on eviction and the rising cost of rent all over the state.

Much of the governor’s plan calls for new housing developments. However, protesters want the administration to help existing tenants who can’t afford rising rents and are facing eviction.

According to the Population Reference Bureau, rents are up 40% to 60% outside New York City since 2015.

The halls of the Empire State Plaza concourse rang out with chants of “We vote you in, we’ll vote you out,” – with protesters gathering near one entrance to the governor’s speech.

The large crowd holding signs that said “Evictor in Chief” with a picture of the governor. They made their voices heard as staff at the Capitol made their way into the governor’s speech.

The event was organized by Housing Justice for All, a group that said it’s fighting for tenants and homeless New Yorkers. They said they are looking to get better protections for New Yorkers facing eviction.

One organizer from Albany said he was there to speak up about a statewide housing crisis.

“So we’re just here to get folks’ attention and to remind folks that there is an eviction crisis, whether you’re in the, mildly cold now, but cold streets, winter streets of Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, New York City, it doesn’t matter, there’s an eviction crisis,” said Marco Flagg, a tenant organizing coordinator at United Tenants of Albany.

Hochul announced a strategy to push back against housing issues Tuesday, including building 800,000 homes over the next decade. However, opponents at the protest said her administration is too focused on expanding development, rather than protecting tenants from eviction now.