Anonymous donor paying all back rent owed at Hudson’s public housing

HUDSON — Tenants in Hudson’s public housing can breathe easier after an anonymous donor offered to pay all back rent at the 132-unit complex.

The donation of about $60,000 was made through the Hudson-Catskill Housing Coalition (HCHC), a Black-led housing justice group that advocates for public housing tenants at the Hudson Housing Authority (HHA) and Catskill Housing Authority.

HCHC Senior Policy Advisor Quintin Cross said most of the tenants who owed back rent were heading toward eviction after New York’s eviction moratorium expired in mid-January.

Public housing tenants are last in line for receiving rental funds through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, Cross said, referring to a federal program created during the pandemic that was temporarily extended with state funding.

On top of this, Section 8 vouchers for low-income households offer too little to cover rent in Hudson, he said, which has seen housing prices skyrocket even before the pandemic.

“If folks are evicted from [HHA], we know they’re homeless after that – they have no place else to go,” Cross said.

Cross would not reveal the name of the donor.

Nick Zachos, who is serving temporarily as HHA’s executive director while a permanent replacement is found, said 50 lease-holders would benefit from the donation. He said the amounts owed range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

The money would go directly to the HHA to pay off the debts, and tenants do not have to apply, Zachos said, adding that the HCHC was adamant rents be paid off across the board, as opposed to there being a selection process.

Zachos said one HHA tenant, a man with a sick daughter, would always ask whether the rumored donation would come through. He was buried in hospital bills and had not paid rent for six to eight months.

When the man learned his rent would be paid, he was “ecstatic,” Zachos said. “The weight off of his shoulder was just enormous.”

However, the HHA’s buildings are in a dire state of disrepair, according to Zachos.

A recent physical needs assessment found the buildings were in need of $10 million in emergency repairs. Cross said there were issues with plumbing, garbage disposal and asbestos that have led to 25 of the 132 units not being in use.

The HHA has plans to tear down HHA’s buildings and replace them, though it is a substantial undertaking since hundreds of tenants must be relocated during the process.

The HHA has put out a request for qualifications to find an interested developer.


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