COVID-19: Ithaca Rent Freeze Now!

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We, the undersigned residents, are left in dire need by the COVID-19 outbreak. With home quarantines spreading across the country, both for recovery and as a precaution, we are reminded of the necessity and fragility of housing. That fragility leaves Ithaca’s renting population in a state of emergency. Cornell University and Ithaca College, institutions responsible for most of our college town’s service-sector economy, have closed and swiftly booted out their student populations. Businesses, in turn, are closing and leaving their already struggling workers out on the street. Money has ceased its flow into the pockets of Ithaca’s most vulnerable — and we need immediate action to stop it from bleeding out. 

Economic disruption of any kind harms the low-income and already vulnerable members of our community, and this outbreak is no different. Job losses, reduction of hours, and unstable work schedules are all either here or coming in the near future.

We write to you, those in the highest positions of power, to help our current and future predicament. The New York State moratorium on evictions was a good place to start. But with massive job losses already beginning now, how can we be expected to retroactively pay our rent when this crisis is over? We demand that Ithaca rents be frozen by city legislative action immediately until the COVID-19 crisis passes. That is, until there are tests that show this is no longer a threat posed to all of our communities. 

With all the power of the people.