Housing coalition offers Bliss rent help


HUDSON—The Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition has offered to pay the back rents of tenants who live on properties of the Hudson Housing Authority (HHA). The offer was made in an email to HHA officials February 9 and in their regular monthly video conference February 10.

The HHA runs the income-restricted 125-unit Bliss Tower and 15-unit Columbia Apartments, all between Second, Columbia, and State streets in Hudson. The Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition (HCHC) “is a Black-led initiative that empowers public housing and low-income tenants to fight for housing justice,” says its website. HHA Board Vice-Chair Claire Cousin is also executive director of the HCHC Board and county supervisor of Hudson’s First Ward.

The immediate trigger for the HCHC’s offer was the expiration of the eviction moratorium. In addition, said HCHC’s Senior Policy Advisor Quintin Cross, “public housing tenants are at the bottom of priority for Emergency Rental Assistance Program support.”

Mr. Cross wrote the February 9 email sent to the HHA’s six board members and its interim executive director, Nick Zachos. In it, Mr. Cross states: “As you are aware, the eviction moratorium ended January 15, 2022, allowing for evictions to commence.… I am writing on behalf of the HCHC.… We would like to pay the back rents if and when we work with all the logistics with you. Our point of contact is our Staff Attorney Andrew Falk, who has already been in contact with” Mr. Zachos.

Mr. Cross repeated the HCHC’s offer at the end of the February 10 video conference, during public comment time.

‘…The eviction moratorium ended January 15, 2022, allowing for evictions to commence.’

Senior Policy Advisor Quintin Cross

Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition

Mr. Zachos called the offer “amazing! An incredible thing for a lot of folks! A game changer!” He said he was eager for more conversation on the matter and agreed that making the arrangements needs the involvement of lawyers.

In an email conversation February 12, Mr. Cross said that the HCHC did not know the number of people behind on their rent. The amount of money was under “discussion.” The offer is only for people who live in Bliss Tower or Columbia Apartments.

Asked how the HCHC got the money to pay the back rent, Mr. Cross said, “We requested support from a donor who has been working on housing issues.”

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