Of the approximately 94,000 applications for Covid-19 rent relief that New York’s Division of Homes and Community Renewal received between July 16 and Aug. 6, more than half were rejected, Crain’s reported, citing a report on the program from HCR.
As a result, more than 57,000 New Yorkers who didn’t meet the program’s requirements did not receive aid from the agency. While the state has distributed about $23 million so far, around 5,400 applicants have not yet received their payments, which total almost $16.8 million, according to Crain’s.
Requirements for the rent relief program stipulate that applicants must have lost money due to the coronavirus pandemic, spend more than 30 percent of their monthly income on rent and have an income less than 80 percent of their area’s median income. If an applicant meets those requirements and was rejected anyway, they can appeal to HCR.
When the program was first rolled out in mid-July, the website was immediately flooded with applicants, necessitating an extension on the deadline to apply. HCR has increased the amount of aid that’s given out each month — it distributed approximately $3 million in August, $9 million in September and $11.5 million in October — but disparities persist among the communities who’ve benefited. Relief has been provided to 2,029 white households, but only 1,490 Black households.
Jay Martin, executive director of the landlord-friendly Community Housing Improvement Program, expressed disappointment in the efficacy of the program’s distribution of funds thus far.
“Renters need a bailout,” he told Crain’s. “There’s no getting around that, and certainly canceling rent isn’t a viable alternative.”
[Crain’s] — Raji Pandya