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Sound Bites: Tenants worry about a flurry of evictions

People hold signs opposing evictions on Thursday in New York City.
Stephanie Keith
Getty Images
People hold signs opposing evictions on Thursday in New York City.

Good morning. 

In Bridgeport, around 2,000 tenants in 500 households face eviction by the Park City’s low-income public housing authority. The City Council plans to use $650,000 to help cover $1.5 million in unpaid rent, but the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has to approve the money move first. 

Housing advocates and officials are concerned this is the latest in a string of evictions in Connecticut and New York, especially on Long Island. 

Nearly 200,000 New Yorkers were evicted since the expiration of the COVID-19 moratorium in January 2022 — so far, 30,000 more occurred this year.  In Suffolk County, nearly 8,000 evictions were filed in 2022. According to a Cornell University database, these evictions make Suffolk the fifth-highest rate of eviction lawsuits per rented home of all counties in the state. 

Researchers recommend expanding public housing and collective housing alternatives. 

Cornell ILR 2022 New York State Eviction Filings County Tool used to explore eviction filings by county
Cornell ILR 2022 New York State Eviction Filings County Tool used to explore eviction filings by county

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing: 

Tuberculosis incidents are rising and returning to pre-pandemic levels. According to the CDC, 714 TB cases appeared in New York in 2022, a rate of 3.6 cases per 100,000 people, while 67 appeared in Connecticut at a rate of 1.8. New York’s TB case appearance is 40% higher than the national TB rate.

A group of former Connecticut high school students want a federal court to reconsider a policy allowing transgender athletes to compete in women’s sports. They claim they were put at an athletic disadvantage when competing against two transgender athletes due to state policy. The 2020 lawsuit against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference policy was thrown out in December, but the young women now want the court to change their athletic records.

Over 70 Long Island fire departments are in desperate need of federal funds to purchase new and improved equipment, according to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY). A Federal Emergency Management Agency program that Schumer created is not congressionally funded beyond 2023. Schumer said he plans to work with regional fire departments to convince the Senate and the House to add funds to the Assistance to Firefighter Grants to the federal budget.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has nominated a new state health commissioner. Dr. Dr. James V. McDonald previously served as the medical director of the state Office of Public Health, interim director of the Center for Community Health, and acting commissioner of the Department of Health. If approved by the state Senate, McDonald would succeed Dr. Mary Bassett, who resigned as commissioner in January.

Brazilian prosecutors made a deal with Rep. George Santos (R-NY). Santos will formally confess to defrauding a Rio de Janeiro clerk of $1,300 over clothes and shoes in 2008. According to CNN, Santos agreed to the deal to avoid standing trial and will pay damages to the clerk. The deal is not yet finalized.

A key Connecticut legislative committee has advanced a proposal to increase penalties for government agencies that violate freedom of information requests. The proposal was made in response to a Hearst Connecticut Media investigationthat found that Bridgeport has a growing backlog of more than 2,000 pending public records requests.

The Long Island Rail Road improved its on-time performance in 2022, with less than half as many cancellations reported compared to 2019, according to a report by New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. However, DiNapoli also found that subway ridership in 2022 decreased by 41% since 2020 due to remote work options in the suburbs and safety concerns. Subway ridership is currently around 70% of pre-pandemic levels on weekdays.

Nurses from Yale New Haven Health facing intense working conditions are supporting a “Safe Staffing Saves Life” Bill. The legislation, if passed, would require hospitals to enforce procedures ensuring nurses oversee no more than four patients in the emergency unit, two in the intensive care unit, and five in the medical-surgical unit during their shift. These new nurse-to-patient ratios would help decrease employment burnout in state hospitals.

Long Island law enforcement have seized an increased amount of ghost guns within the past year — 22 more ghost guns in Suffolk County and 38 in Nassau County, compared to the previous year. Typically obtained online, through a kit or printed on a 3D printer, a ghost gun is untraceable, lacks a serial number, and is assembled at home. These guns require no background checks or licenses. This leaves law enforcement without crucial information when investigating crimes, according to Newsday.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.