State Launches New COVID Rental Assistance Program
Real Estate In-Depth | July 2020
ALBANY—Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on July 14th the launch of an emergency rental assistance program that will help keep low-income families throughout New York in their homes.
The program, which is designed to reach those individuals and families with the greatest need, will provide direct aid for tenants who lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is part of the CARES Act, and is administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal.
The program application will be available on Thursday, July 16 at: https://hcr.ny.gov/RRP
“Since day one we made it clear that no New Yorkers should be thrown on the streets because of hardships caused by this pandemic,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It’s critically important that people are able to stay safely in their homes as we progress through our data-driven, phased reopening, and the COVID Rent Relief Program reinforces that commitment with direct assistance to those in the greatest need.”
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “Despite the progress we have made in fighting COVID-19, millions of New Yorkers are struggling because of this virus and the economic crisis. Providing direct aid to overburdened renters will help these New Yorkers stay in their homes and be able to make ends meet. I applaud Senator Brian Kavanagh for advancing this legislation, my Senate Democratic Majority for passing it, and Governor Cuomo for signing it into law.”
She added, “While this effort will offer some relief, we know that government needs to step up and provide more support during this difficult time. We are going to keep advancing meaningful legislation to help New Yorkers, and we need the federal government to work with us and provide the resources our state needs.”
Under the new program, eligible households will benefit from a one-time rental subsidy paid directly to landlords and housing providers. Tenants are not required to repay this assistance.
To qualify for the program, applicants must meet all of the eligibility requirements:
• Must be a renter with a primary residence in New York State.
• Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, household income (including unemployment benefits) must be below 80% of the Area Median Income, adjusted for household size. Applicants can find the Area Median Income for their county, based on household size, on HCR’s website (hcr.ny.gov)
• Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, the household must have been “rent burdened,” which is defined as paying more than 30% of gross monthly income towards rent.
• Applicants must have lost income during any period between April 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020.
The application period will be open for two weeks. Residents can apply any time during the two-week period.
HCR will prioritize households with greatest economic and social need, accounting for income, rent burden, percent of income lost and risk of homelessness. The rental assistance payment will cover the difference between the household’s rent burden on March 1, 2020 and the increase in rent burden during the period the household is applying for assistance. Households can apply for up to four months in rental assistance for the months of April through July. The program is open to households that rent apartments, single-family homes, manufactured homes and manufactured home lots.
Households with at least one household member with U.S. Citizenship or eligible immigration status are qualified to receive the subsidy. Tenants currently receiving a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher for housing costs or who reside in public housing are not eligible for RRP assistance.