This post has been updated.
With the COVID-19 outbreak requiring most New York State residents to stay home and stripping thousands of workers of their jobs, activists are calling for a rent freeze to protect Ithacans who have lost income. The Ithaca Tenants Union and a group of local activists is pressuring Ithaca’s mayor and Common Council members ahead of Wednesday’s council meeting. An online petition circulated by the ITU has over 4,300 signatures as of Monday afternoon. “With massive job losses already beginning now, how can we be expected to retroactively pay our rent when this crisis is over?” reads the petition, which demands Ithaca rents be “frozen by city legislative action immediately until the COVID-19 crisis passes.”
Genevieve Rand, a local organizer and a leader of the local push for a rent freeze, told The Sun that the issue is important to thousands of Ithacans, many of whom may have lost their income in the wake of COVID-19 closures. The campaign wrote a letter to Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 on March 22, calling on him to institute a rent freeze through the powers of the Common Council.