ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday the launch of an emergency rental assistance program that officials say will help keep low-income families throughout New York in their homes.
According to the governor’s office, the program is designed to reach those individuals and families with the greatest need, and will provide direct aid for tenants who lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officials say the program is funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is part of the CARES Act. The program will be administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal and access to program applications will be available online beginning Thursday, July 16.
“Since day one we made it clear that no New Yorkers should be thrown on the streets because of hardships caused by this pandemic,” Gov. Cuomo said in a press release. “It’s critically important that people are able to stay safely in their homes as we progress through our data-driven, phased reopening, and the COVID Rent Relief Program reinforces that commitment with direct assistance to those in the greatest need.”
Under the new program, eligible households will benefit from a one-time rental subsidy paid directly to landlords and housing providers. Tenants are not required to repay this assistance.
To qualify for the program, applicants must meet all of the eligibility requirements:
- Must be a renter with a primary residence in New York State.
- Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, household income (including unemployment benefits) must be below 80 percent of the Area Median Income, adjusted for household size. Applicants can find the Area Median Income for their county, based on household size, on HCR’s website here.
- Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, the household must have been “rent burdened,” which is defined as paying more than 30 percent of gross monthly income towards rent.
- Applicants must have lost income during any period between April 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020.
- The application period will be open for two weeks. Residents can apply any time during the two-week period.
From the governor’s office:
“HCR will prioritize households with greatest economic and social need, accounting for income, rent burden, percent of income lost and risk of homelessness. The rental assistance payment will cover the difference between the household’s rent burden on March 1, 2020 and the increase in rent burden during the period the household is applying for assistance. Households can apply for up to four months in rental assistance for the months of April through July. The program is open to households that rent apartments, single-family homes, manufactured homes and manufactured home lots.
Households with at least one household member with U.S. Citizenship or eligible immigration status are qualified to receive the subsidy. Tenants currently receiving a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher for housing costs or who reside in public housing are not eligible for RRP assistance.
The COVID Rent Relief Program builds upon Governor Cuomo’s efforts to protect New York’s renters during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes a statewide moratorium on COVID-related residential or commercial evictions; banning late payments or fees for missed rent payments during the eviction moratorium; and allowing renters facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to use their security deposit as payment and repay their security deposit over time.
More information about the COVID Rent Relief Program, including Frequently Asked Questions, is available here.”