COVID Emergency Rental Assistance Program to Start Accepting Applications on June 1st, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz Announces

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New York State’s COVID Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which
was included in this year’s state budget as a result of legislation introduced by
Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the Assembly’s Housing
Committee, will begin accepting applications on Tuesday, June 1st. Senate Housing
Chair Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan) carried the legislation in the Senate.
The state included $2.3 billion in the SFY 2021-22 budget for the ERAP, fully
supported by federal funds. The program will be administered by the Office of
Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) and the funds are expected to start being
disbursed at the end of June.
Eligible expenses under ERAP include up to 12 months of rental and utility
arrears, and up to 3 months prospective rent for those who are rent-burdened (those
paying more than 30% of household income towards rent) and, where needed, to
ensure housing stability.
To qualify for ERAP, households must meet the following requirements: have a
rental obligation for a primary residence in New York State; have at least one member
of the household who has qualified for unemployment or suffered financial hardship due
to the pandemic; be at risk for homelessness or housing instability; and earn no more
than 80% of the area median income (AMI). Funds will be made available without
regard to a tenant’s immigration status.
Landlords and tenants will both be able to apply for the program, but tenants
must provide consent before assistance can be issued on their behalf if an application is
initiated by their landlord. Application documentation for the program will follow federal
guidance. Attestation, including self-attestation, will serve as an acceptable form of
documentation consistent with federal law.
During the first 30 days, the program will prioritize the unemployed, those with
income at or below 50 percent of area median income and other vulnerable populations.
After the first 30 days, 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.
In addition to fiscal relief, ERAP will provide significant tenant protections. In
order to receive assistance, the landlord must agree to waive any late fees due on pastdue
rent; and not increase the tenant’s monthly rent or evict them for one year, except in
limited circumstances. Landlords may still pursue eviction for nonpayment of rent for
months not covered by the program.
“This emergency rental assistance will help to remedy the worst effects of the
public health and economic crisis that New Yorkers faced during the past year, keep
people in their homes and businesses as they get back to work, and re-stabilize our
communities as we begin returning to our pre-pandemic normalcy,” Assemblyman
Cymbrowitz said.

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