State Leaders’ Budget Agreement Includes Rental Assistance Funds

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie recently announced an agreement on the FY2022 New York State Budget. The 2021-2022 State Budget includes $2.4 billion for the creation of a COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The program is funded by $2.3 billion in federal resources and $100 million of state resources to supplement the core program and target those facing hardship who may not otherwise be eligible.

What you need to know: Eligible renters would be allowed to cover up to 12 months of past rent and costs of utilities, as well as three prospective months of rent. The program will support households in rental arrears that have experienced financial hardship, are at risk of homelessness or housing instability, and that earn less than 80 percent of area median income, regardless of immigration status. Under the program, by accepting payment for rental arrears, the owner would agree to not seek to evict tenants for one year after the first payment is received.

The backdrop: The previous state-run rent relief program was criticized for its slow rollout and failure to distribute all of the funds available. Of the $100 million available, the state distributed only $47 million. The remaining $53 million is incorporated in the state’s budget.

What to watch: Be on the lookout for details on the rollout of the program from New York State’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). The program’s implementation will largely depend on rules and regulations issued by the OTDA.