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ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Kathy Hochul convened a special session of New York’s legislature to extend the state’s eviction moratorium and rental assistance program through Jan. 15, calling the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Biden administration’s moratorium “heartless.”

“We are not going to abandon our neighbors in need,” she said.

The New York State Senate and Assembly will meet Wednesday in a special session to address rental and eviction crisis, open meetings laws and legal cannabis specifics.

The eviction moratorium and related assistance programs were put in place to protect tenants and property owners who fell behind on their rent or their mortgage because of hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said she hopes the people of New York rest easier knowing they’re working to address “this crisis.”

The moratorium was set to expire at the end of the day Tuesday. If lawmakers decide to extend the moratorium, they will have to change how it works.

On Aug. 12 the U.S. Supreme Court nixed part of the moratorium that allowed tenants to pause eviction proceedings simply by filing a form declaring they’d had a pandemic-related hardship.

Protesters marched on Hochul’s Manhattan office — blocking traffic along Third Avenue for a time — demanding she call the legislature back into session to extend the state’s eviction moratorium.

But she says the best thing people can do for now is apply for the emergency rental assistance program.

It protects tenants for up to a year after they apply for the money and ultimately will pay landlords to help them with their mortgages and other expenses.

Hochul’s promise to get more COVID-19 rental assistance money into the hands of struggling New York tenants has taken on new urgency after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s temporary federal ban on evictions. The court ruling Thursday meant New Yorkers behind on their rent because of pandemic financial hardship will have fewer protections when the state’s own eviction ban expires Aug. 31. New York’s rental relief program got off to a slow start. It’s supposed to dole out more than $2.4 billion to renters. But as of last week, the state had distributed only $200 million of that money.