New York’s rent relief site goes live — without applications

New site has information on rental relief program

It’s live: After a month-long wait, information about New York’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program appeared on the website for the state’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

The page includes details on eligibility for the program, benefits and the necessary application materials, but skips a key detail: when the program will actually launch. The site says applications will be accepted “soon.”

The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, which runs the program, had previously said applications would open sometime in May.

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Carl Heastie, Andrew Cuomo and Andrea Stewart-Cousins. (Getty)
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President Joe Biden and New York State Senator Brian Kavanagh. (Getty, Department of Treasury)
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State lawmakers approved the $2.4 billion program in early April as a part of New York’s budget for fiscal year 2022. The program allots federal funds to the landlords of tenants who have experienced financial hardship during the pandemic.

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According to ODTA’s webpage, rental relief funds will go to priority applicants during the first 30 days of the portal’s launch. Households making at most 50 percent of the area median income that include a member who’s experienced additional hardship, such as 90 days of unemployment, will be eligible first.

To apply, landlords must provide a W-9 form, their tenant’s lease, the amount of back rent owed and banking information. Renters must provide identification, a Social Security number if they have one and proof of rent owed, residency and income. Both parties will need to sign the application form to receive arrears.

Benefits include up to 12 months of rental arrears, 12 months of utility arrears and 3 months of additional assistance if the applicant expects to spend 30 percent or more of their income on rent.

The program does not say if funds will be released to tenants or owners, a discrepancy between new federal guidelines and the state’s rules that were hammered out last month.

An analysis by the Legal Aid Society this week found New York is one of only eight states without an operational rent relief program. The release named five neighboring states with programs “up and running,” and called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to launch the program immediately.

“Legislation establishing New York’s Rent Relief Program was passed along with the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, and that was roughly six weeks ago,” said Judith Goldiner, Legal Aid Society attorney. “Our clients and other struggling tenants cannot wait.”

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