BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — New York State says it will be finally releasing more than $2 billion in federal funding earmarked for thousands of people seeking rent relief during the pandemic.
This comes as a federal rent moratorium is set to expire at the end of this month. The state moratorium expires at the end of August.
7 Eyewitness News senior reporter Eileen Buckley asked Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul why it is taking so long to release the money.
.@NYGovCuomo is promising rent relief will be sent soon for tenants seeking help. I asked @LtGovHochulNY during a visit to buffalo on Monday about the delay. ⁰ “What's the hold up? It’s being released, yes. When? As we speak.” @WKBW #rent #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/1lqkf0ImJg— eileen buckley (@eileenwkbw) July 26, 2021
“What's the hold up?” Buckley questioned. “It’s being released, yes,” replied Hochul. “When?” Buckley asked. “As we speak,” responded Hochul.
The pandemic is hitting many renters and landlords hard across the state. Now a new report says nearly 29-percent of state residents are at risk of eviction or foreclosure.
“We’ve got to make sure that we administer it in the most efficient way. Also, to make sure there is no opportunities for fraud, but we are very, very interested in and want to get that money out as soon as possible,” Hochul remarked.
“But you want to make sure you give the people who need it most and there's no fraud and there's no scam,” stated Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Governor Cuomo announced Monday the state has a new streamlined application process and it is expected to eliminate any barriers for those who are eligible for that relief.
“We’re going to start with funding the poorest tenants and then work our way up, which we think is fair and the funding will be up by August 31,” Cuomo noted.
Governor Cuomo was asked about the issue one day after receiving harsh criticism from U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.
Schumer says thousands and thousands of tenants across the state could be deprived of the rent help if the state doesn't move quickly and distribute the money.
In Buffalo, Angel Rosado, volunteer with Citizens Action of New York, says he is very concerned it could be too late for renters.
"$2.7 billion goes really fast when you're paying $900 a month for ten months for thousands of people,” remarked Rosado,
Rosado says this is also having a major impact on landlords who owe mortgages.
“Anyone who knows me, knows I’m not the biggest fan of the idea of a landlord, but I also know that the way our society works and our housing market works — they’re important — not to burst or collapsed,” said Rosado. “It puts a very divided and conquer mindset of 'I’m the homeowner and the bank is asking for this'. I’m really going to get it is from the tenant or if I win the lottery. It’s such a domino effect.”
Rosado says he's worried as August 1st nears, it could be too late for some families who might be evicted.
“I just know there's a lot people who worry that what they get may not be enough to cover the entire debt,” described Rosado.
The following statement was issued Monday by the New York State Association of Realtors (NYSAR):
"NYSAR applauds Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for listening to New York State’s REALTORS® and other real estate and housing organizations who have called for additional resources to deliver long stalled payments to landlords and tenants. Today, Governor Cuomo said that he will allow the rental assistance application process to be streamlined and reported that the number of workers processing claims will increase. On Wednesday, July 21, NYSAR called on Governor Cuomo to take immediate action to get checks into the hands of eligible landlords and tenants."