New York State is Now Offering Rental Assistance - But Will You Qualify?
Updated: Jul 21, 2021
In a prior article, we discussed that the current rent moratorium is set to expire on June 30 but may end sooner. If you owe back rent due to the COVID pandemic, you may be eligible for relief under the New York State Rental Assistance Program. The program assists households that are behind on their rent and have experienced financial hardship, that are at risk of homelessness or housing instability and that earn at or below 80 percent of area median income. The State began accepting applications on June 1, but residents of the City of Rochester and Monroe County, the City of Yonkers, Onondaga County and the towns of Hempstead, Islip and Oyster Bay are required to apply locally. If you are eligible for this program, you may also be eligible for help paying utility arrears at the same rental residence.
To be eligible, you must be a New York resident and meet all of the following criteria:
Your household gross income is at or below 80% of the Area Median Income, based on current income or calendar year 2020 income;
On or after March 13, 2020, a member of the household received unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs or experienced financial hardship, directly or indirectly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
You have overdue rent at your current residence for rent owed on or after March 13, 2020; and
You are at risk of becoming homeless, which can be demonstrated by having rental arrears owed on or after March 13, 2020.
Note that there are no immigration status requirements to qualify for the program.
For the first 30 days, the program will prioritize New Yorkers who are unemployed, have income at or below 50 percent of area median income and other vulnerable populations. After that, applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, as long as funds remain available. For more information, applicants and landlords should visit otda.ny.gov/erap.
If you have significant rent arrears and do not qualify for this program, call us to see if bankruptcy is right for you.
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