Rochester Housing Authority announces rent relief to those affected by pandemic

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester Housing Authority announced on Monday that residents and participates whose income has been affected by COVID-19 may be able to have their rent payments temporarily reduced by up to 100%.

Those currently enrolled in public housing or rental assistance programs through RHA can learn more about submitting a change of income request here.

“This global pandemic is having a great impact on the low-income community, who already struggle to make ends meet under regular circumstances,” says Shawn Burr, Deputy Executive Director at the RHA said in a statement.

“We want those we serve to know that we’re here to help and we encourage those that need help to reach out for assistance. By reducing a layer of financial stress, they can focus on what truly matters, the health and well-being of their families,” he says.

Burr says even with lost rent collections, landlords and RHA will get income with assistance payments via the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

“We’re not in the business of kicking people out of their housing, we’re in the business of keeping people in their housing,” says Burr.

“A lot of people I know got laid off, they got fired, they had to file for unemployment,” says Barbara Rivera with the City-Wide Tenants Union. Rivera has been an advocate for cancelling rent during the Covid-19 pandemic for those hit hardest financially. She says what the RHA is doing is tremendously helpful. 

“No one thought they were going to lose their jobs, let alone their homes. That’s the worry on a lot of people’s minds right now,” adds Rivera.

“Work with us, we’ll work with you. It’s what we’re here for,” says Burr.

How It Works:

Public Housing Program

Residents of RHA-owned high rises, complexes or scattered site public housing developments should contact the on-site property management staff to request a hardship interim recertification. Upon determination of eligibility, residents can be granted a rent reduction, covering up to 100 percent of the contract rent, with no repayment requirement. Replacement income, such as unemployment benefits, may be considered when determining household rent responsibility on a case-by-case basis.

Section 8 Programs

To submit a change of income request, participants must submit a written request to their RHA Housing Specialist, including documentation of loss of employment or change in work status from their employers, as well as if they are, or planning to, receive unemployment benefits. After submission of this documentation, RHA may grant appropriate rent relief to reflect the resident’s new income level.

Resident, Participant, & Landlord Resources

RHA has added a COVID-19 resource page to www.rochesterhousing.org, where residents, partners and property owners can find the most up-to-date information on RHA’s operations while the stay-at-home order is in effect, including an FAQ and a resource guide listing services being provided by RHA and its partners during this time. RHA will also continue to release updates and news via its social media platforms. Follow RHA on Facebook at @RochesterHousingAuthority for more information.

Flexibility from Property Owners

RHA strongly urges private property owners to provide needed flexibility to their residents, such as the waving of fees, splitting of rent payments, and temporary suspensions or cancellations of partial or full rent payments, if their business allows.  RHA is committed to work with you through this Pandemic, so please contact us with any questions or concerns.

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