Photo credit: William Alexander
A new emergency rental assistance program launched on July 14, 2020 will help keep low-income families throughout New York in their homes. The program, designed to reach those individuals and families with the greatest need, will provide direct aid for tenants who lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is part of the CARES Act.
The program is administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal and access to program applications are available here.
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.
• 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.
Eligible households can receive a one-time rental subsidy that covers the DIFFERENCE between their “rent burden” on March 1, 2020 and their “rent burden” for the months they are applying for assistance. Households may apply for one month or up to four months of assistance during this period. This one-time subsidy is paid directly to the resident’s landlord.
Applicants must provide the following
• Copy of a lease or other proof of monthly rental amount;
• Proof of the household’s gross income prior to March 1, 2020 and at present. This includes, but is not limited to paystubs, employer letters, and federal/state tax returns.
Once an applicant has been selected to receive assistance, they will be notified simultaneously along with their landlord that the subsidy is being dispersed. This notification will include the amount of assistance, the timeline for receipt, and the method you have chosen to have additional funds credited to you, if you have already paid some or all of your rent.
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 the State’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.
If you need help with the application, call 311 or the NYC Tenant Protection Hotline, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 917-661-4505.