New Yorkers flood rental assistance program on first day

Tenants who qualify for relief have two weeks to apply

New York /
Jul.July 16, 2020 12:34 PM
RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal

RuthAnne Visnauskas, commissioner of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal

How desperate are tenants?

A program to provide rental assistance to some New York tenants launched today and was immediately overwhelmed by applicants.

The program, funded by the Coronavirus Relief Fund in the CARES Act, is administered by the Division of Homes and Community Renewal, the state agency overseeing New York’s rent-regulated housing.

After users reported the website had crashed, an agency representative acknowledged the site had “some issues with traffic,” and apologized via Twitter. By late morning the site appeared to be working, at least to screen out the ineligible.

A spokesperson for HCR said the difficulties were due to anti-fraud measures to limit multiple logins and were swiftly remedied. The spokesperson emphasized that applications will not be made on a first-come, first-serve basis, but will instead “prioritize households with the greatest economic and social need, accounting for income, rent burden, percent of income lost and risk of homelessness.”

The program, to which tenants can apply for the next two weeks, offers one-time assistance. To qualify, tenants must be primary residents in New York, earn below 80 percent of the area median income, have been rent-burdened before March 1 and be able to document a drop in income anytime from April to July.

For those tenants, the rental assistance program will cover the difference between their rent burden on March 1 and after the loss of income, for up to four months. The program is available for renters in apartments, single-family homes and manufactured housing.

“This rental assistance program, while still not enough to meet the tremendous needs that exist, is a step forward to lifting a financial burden off of our most vulnerable families,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie in a prepared statement. Public housing residents and tenants who receive federal assistance in the form of Section 8 vouchers are not eligible.

The rollout of the program comes just one month after the bill establishing it was passed by the state legislature.

Some tenant advocates opposed the measure, calling it insufficient because it did not cancel rent and people who work off the books would be unable to document their loss of income.

Bills to cancel rent have so far failed, but as legislators resume this year’s session next week, tenant advocates and their allies have renewed a push for that.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Southampton Village mayor Jesse Warren (Getty Images, iStock, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)
Southampton Village allows owners to collect summer’s rent upfront
Southampton Village allows owners to collect summer’s rent upfront
Schenectady City Council president Marion Porterfield (Facebook, iStock)
Destructive tenants driving upstate landlords to despair
Destructive tenants driving upstate landlords to despair
CHIP executive director Jay Martin (LinkedIn, iStock / Photo illustration by Priyanka Modi)
Landlords called it: Vacancy rate jumps, rent-stabilization stays
Landlords called it: Vacancy rate jumps, rent-stabilization stays
Related CEO Jeff Blau and 455 Tenth Avenue (Chris Martin, Google Maps, iStock)
Related launches lodging for executives’ hybrid work
Related launches lodging for executives’ hybrid work
(iStock, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)
Goldman Sachs-backed funds pay $45M for Florida community
Goldman Sachs-backed funds pay $45M for Florida community
From left: Community Action for Safe Apartments director Sheila Garcia, Rent Guidelines Board chair David Reiss, Rent Stabilization Association president Joseph Strasburg (New Settlement, Brooklyn Law)
Rent Guidelines Board considers moderate hike in narrow vote
Rent Guidelines Board considers moderate hike in narrow vote
Industrial real estate (iStock)
U.S. industrial vacancy falls to 27-year low
U.S. industrial vacancy falls to 27-year low
New York, Evictions, Court
Eviction filings pick up as housing courts get busy
Eviction filings pick up as housing courts get busy
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...