What to do when the money stops? With mass layoffs, work stoppages, and slowdowns for nonessential goods and services already well under way in Brooklyn and beyond, how to pay the rent or mortgage and what happens next worries many.
An association of mortgage lenders, the Housing Policy Council, is working on implementing by April 1 a plan to suspend mortgage payments for the duration of the crisis, The New York Times reported. Members include JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Quicken Loans and Wells Fargo.
This morning, Governor Cuomo said at a press conference and on Twitter mortgage payments will be halted for 90 days for anyone out of work or working part time, without fees or negative credit reports.
A variety of measures are also coming at the city, state and federal level to halt evictions during the crisis.
More broadly, President Trump signed into law Wednesday a relief package passed by the House and Senate that will, among other things, give loans to businesses with 500 or fewer employees to enable them to keep meeting payroll, to help reduce a Great Depression-like cascade of financial disaster ripping through the economy. Available will be loans to cover six weeks of payroll (with a cap) and the condition that employers pay employees for eight weeks after they get the loan.
Quick action is of the utmost importance, a small business owner told Brownstoner, citing months-long delays for Sandy relief loans.
“The American economy is poised for the worst quarterly contraction ever, with a sudden slowdown in economic activity that is more akin to what happened in wartime Europe than during previous American slowdowns like the financial crisis more than a decade ago or even the Great Depression,” said the Times Wednesday.
Almost 20 percent of the U.S. population has already been laid off, has no work, or has experienced reduced income because of the virus, according to an NPR poll taken March 14.
Con Edison sent out a note to its Brooklyn customers Wednesday saying it would not shut off service for nonpayment and is waiving fees.
Meanwhile, Brooklynites are mostly staying at home and practicing social distancing to slow the spread of the virus, but it’s sometimes impossible to keep the recommended 6-foot distance on some sidewalks, when picking up takeout food and — of course — when riding subway trains.
Jails are no longer allowing visitors, and the number of confirmed cases there has risen to include an inmate on Rikers, several NYPD officers, and a prison staffer. “Jails and prisons are accelerating the pandemic, Manhattan DA candidate Tahanie Aboushi said in an email. “These facilities are not built with healthcare in mind and lack enough space, sinks, soap, or covers for toilet seats. They do not permit hand sanitizer because it contains alcohol. People in these facilities are kept together in large groups – showering, eating and living in cages.”
Governor Cuomo ordered businesses to have no more than half their employees in the office — a ban Eric Adams flouted, The New York Post reported.
[Photos by Susan De Vries]
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