New York Speeds Up Rental Assistance, Asks for More Federal Funding

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The state has so far promised and delivered $1.8 billion in funding out of $2.6 billion

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The federal government awarded nearly $2.6 billion to New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic to help tenants who are behind on their rent avoid eviction. Lawmakers said the relief was necessary to prevent homelessness due to loss of income as a result of the pandemic.

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Under New York law, both the tenant and the landlord must participate in the application process, but discrepancies—including a landlord’s legal name—have stalled the process. A spokesman for the office said it is working with landlords to make sure the application is complete, and has hired more than 100 people to work on the problem.

The Treasury Department said this week it would reallocate funds from states and municipalities that had not spent or obligated 65% of their original funding awards by Sept. Brian Kavanaugh, a Democrat from Manhattan who chairs the New York state Senate housing committee, said New York has approved that limit and is in a strong position to secure additional funding.

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“There was a legitimate concern that we were going to lose money through that process earlier in the summer. Now, I think we will have a profit,” he said.

Both landlords and tenants criticized the state for failing to approve multiple applications in June and July, and state lawmakers responded in September by extending an eviction moratorium to January.

According to the latest Treasury Department data, New York had disbursed $18.4 million in rent relief as of the end of July, in line with Alabama, but far behind Texas and California, which paid $893 million and $618 million, respectively. Was.

As of this week, New York has distributed more federal rental aid than any state except Texas, according to data compiled by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, an advocacy group.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on September 21, saying that About 9,000 people a week were still applying for aid, and the state approved an additional $250 million for landlords and tenants who did not meet the income requirements for the federal program.

“Even with these additional state funds, New York’s need far exceeds available funds, and addressing this crisis will require additional allocations of federal funds,” wrote Ms. Hochul, a Democrat.

A Treasury Department spokesperson did not return an email seeking comment.

Estimates vary as to how many New Yorkers are behind on rent. for the month of august, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said Some 1,56,000 New Yorker families were behind on rent due to financial difficulties due to the pandemic, with an average rental debt of $9,200. According to US Census surveys, approximately 700,000 New York adults may live in their rented homes for any number of reasons.

Jay Martin, executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Program, a landlords group, said it estimates rent arrears in New York to be between $2.7 billion and $3.2 billion on top of $2.85 billion appropriated by the state and federal governments.

“There is a vast universe of tenants who have not applied yet, and who are still taking out significant rent loans,” he said. “It’s a matter of concern, because when this program dries up, there will be literally billions of dollars in rent debt that will have to be accounted for.”

write to Jimmy Vielkind at [email protected]

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