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NEW YORK (PIX11) — A moratorium on evictions in New York lifted on Saturday, potentially placing thousands of residents in danger of losing their homes.

Gov. Kathy Hochul previously said she would allow the pandemic-era moratorium to expire but would offset the tidal wave of impending evictions by reopening financial programs that provide New Yorkers with rent relief and eviction protection. However, housing advocates say there’s not nearly enough funding to help all of those still reeling from the financial and economic impacts of the COVID pandemic.

On Saturday, The Legal Aid Society called on state lawmakers to enact long-term solutions to protect tenants, including a proposed bill that would provide protections for renters in unregulated apartments.

Judith Goldiner, attorney-in-charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society, said tenants in unregulated housing deserve basic, common-sense protections from unjust evictions.

“Now more than ever, New York must enact meaningful, long-term measures to address the growing housing crisis and to stop the tidal wave of evictions that will likely begin now that the moratorium has expired,” Goldiner said in an emailed statement.

Hochul on Tuesday said she’s having conversations with the Legislature on how to combat the housing crisis. 

Earlier this week, the state reopened a rent relief program, despite that there’s not enough funding to help everyone who had previously applied — unless more federal aid comes.

The Emergency Rent Relief Program initially closed in November because New York ran out of funds

In December, the Legal Aid Society sued the state to reinstate the program, and a state Supreme Court judge issued a preliminary injunction on Jan. 6 ordering the state to reopen the application portal.

Advocates encouraged struggling New Yorkers to apply for the program regardless of funding since anyone who applies is provided protection from eviction while their application is processed.

This story comprises reporting from The Associated Press and NEWS10’s Sara Rizzo.