NEW YORK (WKBW) — New York is among the four states that sent a joint letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen calling for additional federal rent relief.
Governor Kathy Hochul said Thursday New York is joining California, New Jersey and Illinois calling on the U.S. Treasury to reexamine its methodology for reallocating rent relief. The states emphasized the need to speed up the redistribution of the estimated $18 billion in unused emergency funding "to help keep families stabilized and housed amid the recent surge of COVID-19," according to a release.
In June 2021, New York launched its Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to provide assistance to New Yorkers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to $2.7 billion in emergency rental assistance was available. You can find more information about the program here.
According to a release from the governor's office, through the program the state has obligated all $2 billion in available funding, covering roughly 161,000 applications and leaving roughly 85,000 unfunded. Although all available funding has been obligated, the state was legally required fully reopen its application portal last week.
Days after its application portal was fully reopened, the program's website now says the following:
Important Note for New ERAP Applicants
Total requests for assistance exceed available federal funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Due to a court order, applications for ERAP will be accepted statewide January 11, 2022 at 10 p.m. There is currently no federal funding available to provide assistance in most areas of the State. Therefore, applications will only be reviewed and considered for funding if additional funds become available, except in the areas listed below.
According to a release from the governor's office, the state requested $996 million in reallocation funds from the Treasury. In December the Treasury indicated the state would receive $27 million from its initial reallocation.
From the start of my administration, I pledged to deliver relief to struggling tenants and landlords who were still recovering from the pandemic. Since then, we've issued more than $1.3 billion in rent relief out the door, made $100 million in rent supplements available, signed an increase in rental voucher amounts into law, invested $25 million for free legal services for tenants, and unveiled a number of bold, achievable proposals to address systemic housing needs. However, the harsh reality is that there are still too many New Yorkers in need of housing assistance. We were disappointed in the amount of additional rental relief funds available from the U.S. Treasury to be reallocated to New York, and given that our Emergency Rental Assistance Program portal already reopened this week, I am asking the Treasury to revisit its process. It is crucial that we not give struggling tenants and landlords false hope for long-awaited financial relief when—without federal intervention—there is no funding to support them, and I thank California, New Jersey, and Illinois for joining us in this important effort.