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  4.  » Special Edition: What You Need to Know About the NYS Emergency Rental Assistance Program

As of June 1, 2021, the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is available for New York City households who fell back on their rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NYS Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide a significant economic relief to help low housing instability by providing rental arrears, temporary rental assistance, and utility arrears assistance. New York State’s Governor Andrew M. Cuomo also announced $3.5 billion in assistance for renters and small businesses experiencing financial hardship. Today we’ll be sharing which households are eligible for the assistance program, how to apply, and other vital information you may need to know.  

The rental assistance program makes up to $2.7 billion in emergency rental assistance available for struggling New Yorkers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications for the program will be accepted as of June 1st, 2021 for eligible New Yorkers who are either behind on their rent or have suffered financial hardship due to COVID-19. The program is being administered by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide with up to 12 months of past-due rent, 3 months of prospective assistance and 12 months of utility arrears payments to eligible New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status. The program is expected to serve between 170,000 and 200,000 households. 

The eligibility requirements are as follows: 

  • Household gross income is at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). These income limits differ by county and household size. A household may qualify based on current income or calendar year 2020 income that is at or below 80 percent AMI. 
  • 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. 
  • The applicant is obligated to pay rent at their primary residence and has rental arrears (rent overdue) at their current residence for rent owed on or after March 13, 2020. 
  • The household must be at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which can be demonstrated by having rental arrears owed on or after March 13, 2020.

There are no immigration status requirements to qualify for the program. 

Households eligible for rental arrears may also be eligible for help paying utility arrears at the same rental unit.

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. Six of New York City’s largest nonprofit legal service providers and tenants right’s groups kicked off a ‘Know Your Rights’ campaign and housing helpline (212.298.3490) – to reach immigrant tenants, including undocumented residents, to educate them about ERAP. The effort involves the Legal Aid Society,  Enterprise Community Partners, Make the Road New York, RiseBoro Community Partnership, CAMBA, and funding from the Robin Hood Foundation.

The Law Offices of Marjory Cajoux is here to answer your landlord and tenant-related questions. You can depend on us to stay ahead of various developments and to keep you informed.

Additional information:

Gothamist: New Yorkers Can Start To Apply For Emergency Rental Assistance

City Limits: Over 7,000 New Yorkers Apply for COVID Rent Relief in Program’s First Four Hours