NY provides $100M to help tenants pay rent, curb homelessness amid pandemic hardships
New York is funding $100 million in rental supplements aimed at helping New Yorkers pay their rent or find permanent housing if they are homeless, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday.
The funding, set aside through the New York State Rental Supplement Program, will allow counties to assist in moving people out of homeless shelters and into permanent housing, according to a statement from the governor's office.
The money can also be used to help low-income residents pay their rent. The Rental Supplement program is providing nearly $68 million in funding to New York City, as well as more than $32 million to counties outside the five boroughs.
Hochul said the program will serve as a temporary measure amid a yearslong coronavirus pandemic that has “inflamed housing insecurity” and made it difficult for many New Yorkers to pay their rent.
“With far too many pushed to the brink of homelessness, this assistance, the first of its kind in many counties outside New York City, will provide a stopgap measure to keep struggling renters in their homes, while helping those in the shelter system secure permanent housing," she said.
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How does the federal rental assistance program factor in?
The program builds off her work to streamline New York's payments out of the federal Emergency Rental Assistance program, which provided billions to landlords on behalf of tenants who couldn't pay their rent due to pandemic-related financial hardships.
Six months after the program launched in New York, the state paid or obligated nearly all of its $2.4 billion funding allocation, much of which was distributed in more than 81,000 rental assistance payments.
New York has since stopped taking applications for the program, while Hochul pushes the federal government for more funding. Last month, she submitted an application for $996 million in additional rental assistance funding from the U.S. Treasury Department.
The Rental Supplement Program, administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, will now serve as the primary state-funded assistance program for residents struggling to pay rent after it was adopted during the 2022 fiscal year budget.
Meanwhile, the state's eviction moratorium is still in effect until Jan. 15, 2022.
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How do counties access the new program?
Each county or locality must opt into the program and submit a distribution plan to OTDA. They may choose to directly administer their allocation or delegate it to another public agency, contractor, or non-profit organization.
Counties can develop a program to meet the needs of their “underserved populations,” according to the governor's office.
Who is eligible?
Households interested in the rental supplement can’t earn more than 50% of the area median income, and the initial priority will be given to those earning 30% or less of that designation.
The supplement must be used for upcoming rental payments, though local social services districts will determine coverage for past payments, according to the governor’s office.
Half of the supplements are earmarked for people living in shelters or experiencing homelessness, the statement read. The program is also available to all eligible households, regardless of their immigration status.
Rental supplement amounts will be funded at 85% of the local fair market rent values, though municipalities can choose to pay the remainder.
A household receiving the supplement will contribute no more than 30% of their total earned income toward their monthly rent, officials said in the statement.
“This funding will help counties move additional individuals and families from a homeless shelter to permanent housing and provide a safety net to prevent low-income households from falling into housing insecurity or homelessness,” said Barbara Guinn, executive deputy commissioner at the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.