The Saturday Night Live star shared that his grandma died of COVID-19 earlier this month

By Ashley Boucher
April 15, 2020 11:26 PM
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Credit: Trae Patton/NBCU

Michael Che is helping out New Yorkers with rent to honor his grandmother, who died of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Saturday Night Live star, 36, shared on Instagram Wednesday that he will be paying rent for all the residents in his grandmother’s former New York City apartment.

“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,” Che said.

“Obviously I can’t offer much help by myself,” he continued. “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,” the comedian acknowledged. “So I really hope the city has a better plan for debt forgiveness for all the people in public housing, AT THE VERY LEAST.”

Che then added a P.S. to his statement, calling on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Sean “Diddy” Combs.

“Let’s fix this!” Che said. “Page me!”

Che announced that his grandmother had passed away from the contagious respiratory virus earlier this month.

“I’m doing ok, considering,” he wrote on Instagram on April 6. “I’m obviously very hurt and angry that she had to go through all that pain alone. But I’m also happy that she’s not in pain anymore. And I also feel guilty for feeling happy. Basically the whole gamut of complex feelings everybody else has losing someone very close and special. I’m not unique.”

“But it’s still scary,” he said.

The SNL star also shared his frustrations at the lack of information about COVID-19.

“I need a better story,” he said. “I’m just not willing to accept that right now. F— THAT. I need a better story. I know, I shouldn’t curse, but I’m grieving.”

New York is currently the epicenter of the virus, with at least 213,779 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state as of Wednesday, with 11,586 related deaths.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.