New Yorkers flood rental assistance program on first day

Tenants who qualify for relief have two weeks to apply

TRD 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
Invitation Homes CEO Dallas Tanner (iStock; Tanner via Invitation Homes)

Invitation Homes may double its single-family portfolio

Invitation Homes may double its single-family portfolio
(Google Maps)

National retail chains paid 80% of July rent, a Covid high

National retail chains paid 80% of July rent, a Covid high
Retailers are rejecting leases amid bankruptcy filings, putting a strain on landlords. (iStock; Pixabay)

Retailers rejecting leases amid bankruptcy could bring “tsunami” for landlords

Retailers rejecting leases amid bankruptcy could bring “tsunami” for landlords
(iStock)

Half empty or half full? Hotel occupancy rate nears 50%

Half empty or half full? Hotel occupancy rate nears 50%
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Getty, iStock)

Eviction moratorium extended until September

Eviction moratorium extended until September
JLL CEO Christian Ulbrich (Ulbrich by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Women's Forum of New York)

JLL profits halved by pandemic

JLL profits halved by pandemic
For the first time since the start of the coronavirus crisis, the percentage of CMBS loans that are more than a month behind on payments has gone down. (iStock)

TRD Insights: CMBS delinquencies decline as borrowers get relief

TRD Insights: CMBS delinquencies decline as borrowers get relief
Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye (UCDavis, iStock)

California eviction and foreclosure ban could end Aug. 14

California eviction and foreclosure ban could end Aug. 14
arrow_forward_ios

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

Loading...