As the COVID-19 crisis risks spiraling out of control, vulnerable frontline communities are facing unprecedented threats from structural inequities in our economic system and gaping holes in our social safety net. In the face of this crisis, PUSH Buffalo is taking immediate emergency action to reduce social harm and economic hardship while coordinating delivery of vital mutual aid services to members of our community.
“Our values as an organization drive our response to ever changing political and social climates and we are humbled to provide a bit of relief to as many in need as we can. I am inspired by the leadership of our Executive Director, Rahwa Ghirmatzion, as she positions PUSH to support the mental, physical, and emotional wellness of our most vulnerable populations during these uncertain times,” said Ramone Alexander, Board member at PUSH Buffalo.
Today we’re announcing the cancelation and forgiveness of April rent payments for all PUSH Buffalo residential and commercial tenants. This decision will positively impact 99 residential and 5 commercial tenants, including our non-profit partners Ujima Co. Inc., Peace of the City, and the African Heritage Food Co-op.
“This relief is an unexpected blessing. We have suspended our programming and the staff is working from home. That is all we know. It’s a time of great uncertainty. Our survival depends on earned income in addition to funding and donations. There will be no earned income for the undetermined future. Next month’s rent is one less thing to worry about – a brick off our chest,” said Lorna C. Hill, Artistic Director and Founder, Ujima Co. Inc.
Right now PUSH Buffalo is calling on developers and large landlords to take similar actions before April 1st to keep people in their homes and out of rental debt while they struggle to maintain the health and well-being of themselves and their families.
“Housing is healthcare. Housing is a human right. While we call on other housing providers to take similar action, ultimately this is an issue that demands a bold response by all levels of government. As a member of the statewide Housing Justice for All and the national #HomesGuarantee campaigns, we’ve joined tens of thousands of community members and advocates from across the state and country in advocating for immediate emergency relief for renters,” said Harper Bishop, Deputy Director of Movement Building at PUSH Buffalo.
“We are in a moment of social and economic rupture. Business as usual is over. We’re being forced to pause and reorient to an unknown future. This is our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redesign the systems we need to survive and thrive. The actions we take today will shape our tomorrow. We’re the City of Good Neighbors and we’re doing what we’ve always done — taking care of one another when we need it most. We have everything we need to survive right here in our community. We are the bailout we’ve been looking for,” said Tori Kuper, Board member at PUSH Buffalo.