NY Gets $100M More in Federal Emergency Rent Aid

New York's state Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program will get $99.4 million in federal funds reallocated by U.S. Treasury officials. This recent payout to New York State is the third time the state has received federal dollars, and this should empty the first tranche of ERA funds available to the state.

Unfortunately, this amount won’t come close to covering the state’s estimated need. In March, New York received $119 million of the $1.6 billion requested by the state for rent relief. The governor also committed about $800 million to the ERA program in the state budget.

The context: The federal December 2020 COVID relief package and the American Rescue Plan Act provided $46.55 billion in emergency rental assistance to help renters stay stably housed. The federal money was split into two separate tranches. ERA1 provides $25 billion, and ERA2 provides $21.55 billion in emergency funds.

According to National Low Income Housing Coalition data, which tracks data on ERA funds approved or distributed from all 50 state ERA programs, $20.76 billion of $25.00 billion from ERA1 funds and $11.54 billion of $21.55 billion have been approved or paid to households. States will have two chances to draw down leftover funds from the ERA2 tranche. For New York State, it remains unclear how much of the unspent ERA2 funds might go to the state.

One level deeper: Owners have been unable to evict tenants with pending ERAP applications yet unable to collect aid since the fund was exhausted months ago. According to the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, as of Sept. 22, the state had distributed $2.5 billion to landlords to fulfill 197,363 applications. And the total assistance obligated and/or paid through Aug. 31, 2022, is $2.9 billion. But the total number of applications submitted is 366,862.