In times of great crisis, there will always be great heroism. One New York landlord who waived the rent for his tenants throughout the month of April is just one such example.
Speaking with Colm Flynn of EWTN News Nightly, Mario Salerno of Brooklyn said he waived the April rent for all 200 hundred of his tenants upon hearing of the financial hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I told them not to worry, not to panic,” Salerno said. “We’re going through some very tough times with this monster disease. I would waive all the rent for the month of April.”
Walking through his neighborhood, Salerno outlined the successful business he had built for himself, a business he put on indefinite hold to help those in need.
“I have 80 apartments. I have quite several buildings, close to 200 tenants,” said Salerno.
“You built quite an empire,” responded Flynn.
“Yes, I built these with my own hands,” Salerno shot back.
When asked what led to his decision, Salerno said he felt compelled to be charitable after learning of his tenants’ situations.
“Because I had a lot of my tenants losing their jobs, I wanted them to have some peace of mind not to worry about where the next dollar was,” said Salerno.” As a human, I felt more comfortable making sure that they had food on their table, which several of them didn’t, and I felt very honored to tell them that.”
“But, presumably, you’re taking a hard-hit on this financially. How much are you losing?” asked Flynn.
“We don’t really want to bring that issue up. That’s irrelevant to the value of human life. Which I value is peoples lives,” Salerno responded.
Ultimately, it was Salerno’s Catholic faith and its teaching about the value of human life that spurned him into this decision.
“My Catholic faith brought it upon me to make this decision,” said Salerno. “The value of a life, and I pray every day, and when I have extra time, when I’m in Quarantine, I pray and ask the good Lord to please conquer this vicious virus.
Mario Salerno is not the only New York landlord to give free rent to a needy tenant during the pandemic, which has ravaged the American economy. Just recently, a pizzeria earned itself free rent at its place of business after the landlord learned that they had donated hundreds of pizzas to hospitals around the city.
“All of the pizza getting made at Sauce Pizzeria – as many as 400 per day – are going straight to hospitals to feed health care workers pulling 14- or even 18-hour shifts as they remain on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight,” reported NBC New York. “Many of those nurses, doctors, and other medical staffers are so swamped helping patients every single day, many don’t have a moment to spare to grab something to eat.”