What you should know
- Nearly $ 400 million in rental assistance has been paid, almost double the amount paid in the last three weeks.
- $ 125 million in new state funding designated for tenants who previously did not meet the criteria for assistance will be available through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program beginning September 15.
- More than $ 1.05 billion in excluded worker program funds approved for distribution to date.
NEW YORK – New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced significant progress Wednesday in helping New Yorkers affected by the pandemic through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and the Excluded Worker Program.
According to the governor’s report, so far the amount of money paid in relation to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program has almost doubled in the last three weeks, with an increase of $ 399 million, allowing tenants at risk of eviction stay in their homes and help struggling landlords to recoup unpaid rent.
Additionally, beginning Wednesday, September 15, middle-income renters who previously did not qualify for assistance can begin applying for $ 125 million in state funding through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
On the other hand, while some are undergoing final verification, the governor announced that to date, more than $ 1.05 billion in Excluded Workers Program funds have been approved for distribution.
“When I was sworn in as governor just three weeks ago, I made it clear that my top priority was to expedite the delivery of aid money as quickly as possible to New Yorkers struggling with the economic devastation of the pandemic,” Governor Hochul said. “While we are stepping up those efforts, our work is not done yet. We will continue to provide critical assistance to excluded workers, pandemic-affected households who have fallen behind on rent, and landlords who saw their rental income decline. significantly during the global health crisis. “
To achieve these changes, Governor Hochul has implemented measures such as the creation of the new Office of Pandemic Relief, enacting changes to accelerate the state’s rent relief program and attract more applicants, and visiting New Yorkers in areas damaged by Irá to help. to ensure they were connected and received the help they need.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program
Governor Hochul took office in late August with a focus on ERAP and announced a series of actions, including the reassignment of 100 employees hired to work solely with owners to complete pending applications, to speed up the process. Since then, the number of payments issued has grown from 15,548 payments totaling $ 203 million to homeowners, to 30,781 payments totaling $ 399 million to homeowners.
As of Wednesday, the state is accepting applications for rental assistance from homes adversely affected by the pandemic and earning 80 to 120 percent of the area median income, a group that previously did not qualify for assistance. from the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
This program provides $ 2.6 billion in federal funding to pay up to 12 months of arrears and three months of prospective rent directly to landlords, while providing approved tenants with up to one year of eviction protection. as long as they keep paying the rent.
Excluded Workers Fund Program
Governor Hochul has identified one of her top priorities as getting aid money out as quickly as possible to help New Yorkers struggling with the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of these efforts, it works to accelerate the distribution of the benefits of the Excluded Workers Program. To date, the New York State Department of Labor has approved more than $ 1.05 billion in Excluded Workers Program benefits for distribution. Of these benefits, $ 550 million will have been released by the end of this week, and an additional $ 500 million is undergoing final verification for applicants identified as eligible, which is expected to be distributed in the next month.
The program application was launched on August 1, 2021 in 13 different languages, and to date, the NYS DOL has received more than 130,000 applications, of which more than 75,000 have been determined to meet the requirement thus far.
Approved applicants receive one of two benefit amounts based on the level of employment documentation they provide, in addition to verifying their identity and residency.
Tier 1 qualifiers receive $ 15,600 and Tier 2 qualifiers receive $ 3,200. Of those approved to date, 99 percent have qualified for Tier 1 benefits. Approved applicants receive a one-time payment on a prepaid card mailed to the address provided on the application. Cards allow you to withdraw cash or make purchases with merchants.
The Excluded Workers Fund was created to provide financial relief to thousands of workers across the state who lost income during the pandemic and did not qualify for COVID-19 benefits issued by the federal government that is in the final stages of approval.
On the other hand, Governor Hochul enacted a moratorium on COVID-related evictions until January 15, 2022. This legislation also established a new $ 250 million program to provide services to additional homes and better support homeowners. Through this program, $ 125 million in state funds go specifically to those households with incomes too high to participate in the federally funded ERAP.
In addition, the legislation set aside $ 125 million in state funds to help landlords with tenants who refuse to participate in the program or who have vacated the apartment with arrears. Federal guidelines require both tenant and landlord to apply for the program, so the additional state funding will allow OTDA to post a separate application for landlords seeking this assistance sometime in early October.
However, the New York program allows a tenant’s assistance to be provisionally approved, while the other side of the application is pending and a great effort is made to persuade the landlord to participate. If a landlord refuses to provide the information necessary to complete an application or refuses to accept the funds, the tenant receives a letter that can be shown in court in the event of an eviction proceeding.
Tenants approved for the program cannot be evicted due to an expired lease or failure to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the landlord accepts a payment, the tenant cannot be evicted for failure to pay rent during the covered period or for a lease that expired during the 12 months following this payment.
Hochul continues to encourage New Yorkers struggling to pay back rent that accrued during the pandemic to apply for the program.. Over 200,000 applications for ERAP have already been received.