Following the loss of his grandmother, due to coronavirus-related complications, comedian Michael Che is doing something special to honor her legacy. In an effort to support other individuals who have been significantly impacted by the public health crisis, the Saturday Night Live star has vowed to cover one month’s rent for residents who reside in the NYCHA building where his grandmother once lived, NBC New York reported.
As financial uncertainty looms due to the coronavirus, people throughout the country are focused on figuring out how to pay for their living expenses. Several individuals are spearheading campaigns surrounding rent relief. Cognizant of the fact that New York City Housing Authority residents are still expected to pay their rent amid the economic downturn that has stemmed from the pandemic, Che decided to rally around his grandmother’s neighbors and cover their rent expenses.
He took to Instagram to announce he would pay rent for 160 residents. “It’s crazy to me that residents of public housing are still expected to pay their rent when so many New Yorkers can’t even work,” he posted. “Obviously I can’t offer much help by myself, but in the spirit and memory of my late grandmother, I’m paying one month’s rent for all 160 apartments in the NYCHA building she lived in. I know that’s just a drop in the bucket, so I really hope the city has a better plan for debt forgiveness for all the people in public housing, AT THE VERY LEAST.”
There has been a push to have more federal relief for NYCHA—which has over 170,000 apartments throughout the city—amid the coronavirus crisis. According to the Daily News, although legislation allocated $3 billion towards affordable housing relief, only $680 million will be dedicated to public housing operating assistance throughout the country. Elected officials say that NYCHA has done a poor job with enforcing social distancing measures and cleaning apartment complexes, despite having vulnerable groups of residents who are susceptible to catching the coronavirus. The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged New York City. There have been over 130,000 reported cases and 10,000 deaths.