Updated: May 1, 2022
By Staff Writer
An anonymous donor has given OLA of Eastern Long Island $30,000 to support the nonprofit organization’s efforts to prevent homelessness.
The funding will enable OLA to continue its work on tenants’ rights education concerning evictions and landlord-tenant disputes.
“The onset of the pandemic in early 2020 and the accompanying shutdown of many industries devastated the livelihoods of countless East End Latino immigrants,” stated an OLA release announcing the donation. “A year and a half later, these individuals and families are still struggling to make ends meet, relying on OLA for cash assistance with food and, in the most dire cases, with rent and/or utilities as well. For many households, the pandemic forced upon them the difficult decision to either pay their rent or feed their families.”
OLA is helping to administer the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program in Suffolk County. ERAP pays landlords directly for back rent that tenants failed to pay during the pandemic, though OLA reports that even with ERAP and the state-mandated eviction moratorium in place, many landlords are intent on evicting the families they rent to — even when those families have lived there for over a decade and have always paid their rent.
OLA plans to establish a presence in at least one local courthouse to monitor court compliance with state policies designed to protect tenants. OLA representatives will offer support to tenants who are in court for housing- or eviction-related cases, including pro bono legal representation.