Albany County rejects eviction prevention program 

Both Democrats and Republicans took issue with the measure

Albany County Rejects Eviction Prevention Program
Albany County legislator Sam Fein (Sam Fein via Facebook, Getty)

A measure designed to protect tenants in Albany County fell one vote short of a resolution.

The Albany County Legislature voted 19-14 in favor of the eviction prevention program, the Times Union reported. The resolution needed 20 affirmative votes to pass.

The Eviction Prevention & Intervention Collaborative was set to provide a total of $160,000 in funding for attorneys and advocates supporting tenants facing eviction and money for low-income residents to pay overdue rent. Money for the program was already set aside in the 2022 county budget, but that funding is now in limbo.

Both Democrats and Republicans took issue with the measure, which was sponsored by legislator Sam Fein. Some Democrats argued that the program should provide funding to small landlords to pay for legal assistance, which can cost more than that they are actually owed in rent. Republicans, meanwhile, didn’t want the government involved in eviction proceedings, which can be interpreted as civil disputes.

One legislator pitched a compromise at the last minute to try and appease the Democratic faction of opponents, but the request for proposals regarding the funding had already gone out and couldn’t be altered.

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“Unfortunately, we didn’t have the support we needed to pass it,” Fein said on Tuesday. “This was going to help a lot of tenants.” Fein added that he would be supportive of future efforts to revive the measure, including adding aid for small landlords.

The city of Albany has its own matching program, with $100,000 put aside for residents. It’s unclear if the city’s program will move forward without the county program doing the same.

In 2021, the city of Albany became the first municipality in the state to pass a good cause eviction measure. That victory for tenant advocates lasted for less than a year, as a state judge proceeded to strike down the law, saying it conflicted with state laws governing property use, preempting local jurisdiction.

Holden Walter-Warner

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