Cuomo Announces Executive Order to Help Needy Renters
In May, the state legislature passed the Emergency Rent Relief Act of 2020 to help low-income renters make their monthly rent payments for up to four months. The program was funded by $100 million of federal money. Critics claimed the legislation enabling the act was written far too narrowly, and that the window to apply for relief was too short and ill-timed. It opened just as New Yorkers were receiving the $600-a-week unemployment checks from the federal government, which meant they were ineligible for rent relief.
As a result, the New York State Office of Homes & Community Renewal, which administers the relief program, had distributed just under $40 million ($39,977,021). In other words, $60 million of federal rent relief has yet to be allocated, with a deadline of Dec. 30 for its distribution.
In a recent announcement, Governor Cuomo said he will use his executive authority to expand the program’s eligibility requirements to ensure more New Yorkers have access to rent relief. “The legislature passed a rent assistance bill. The rent assistance bill appropriated $100 million, up to $100 million, but had eligibility requirements on what income levels could qualify. We ran the program. The number of eligible applicants only brought us to $40 million in rental aid by the parameters of the law. By executive order I’m going to change the law. I’ve spoken to the legislative leaders about this–reopen the application window, extend the eligibility requirements to help more New Yorkers.”