New York needs another $1.6 billion in federal funds to provide emergency rent relief for tenants in danger of eviction, Governor Kathy Hochul said Thursday.
Hochul announced that her administration filed the funding request with the U.S Department of Treasury, hoping to fulfill the currently unmet needs of thousands of struggling tenants and landlords who applied for additional funding through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) and have still not received aid.
If approved, the funding would help assist the approximately 174,000 tenants who aren’t currently funded. Since the governor was sworn in back in August, according to Hochul’s office, New York State was able to streamline and morequickly distribute rent relief – protecting over 166,000 households from eviction, as well as making 109,000 payments to landlords and property owners.
“We delivered nearly $1.4 billion for renters struggling from the pandemic, but we must do more. New York State continues to demonstrate a large need for this federal funding,” Hochul said Jan. 27. “Our appeal to the Treasury to reexamine its reallocation formula to prioritize high-tenant states like New York represents the latest in our continued and vigorous advocacy for those still reeling from the financial impact of the pandemic. We need to ensure that all eligible tenants and landlords are able to tap into this critical assistance.”
After the eviction moratorium expired Jan. 15, the state had requested an additional $996 million from the Treasury Department to be allocated to rental relief, but ended up receiving about $27 million — enough to fund less than 2,000 ERAP applicants’ needs.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, large numbers of tenants have fled the city in what many have deemed an exodus. Nearly 320,000 people left New York in 2020, a tremendous 237% increase from the prior year.
Because of this, thousands of landlords have been unable to fill vacant properties, while simultaneously thousands of remaining New Yorkers have been without work or steady paychecks and are therefore unable to pay their rents.
Many state legislators agree with Hochul’s request for more funding for rental relief, stating that without this funding New Yorkers are at dire risk of homelessness, job loss as well as being forced to move from the state altogether in order to afford and meet basic needs.
“I strongly urge the administration to promptly direct additional rental aid to New York, as Congress intended, from the unused funds we have already appropriated,” said Senator Chuck Schumer in a statement. “New York remains on the frontlines [of] this pandemic and our tenants suffer from a double whammy: being hit hardest by COVID and paying some of the highest rents. That is why I championed and delivered billions in aid that went directly to tenants and building owners to prevent mass evictions, and homelessness, and overwhelming debt – and why the unused portions of this relief needs to be directed to high-needs areas like New York ASAP.”
Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke said that housing is and will continue to be a basic human right that all individuals are entitled to.
“Too many New Yorkers are facing housing uncertainties that have been compounded by the recent expiration of New York’s Pandemic-Era Eviction Moratorium,” said Clarke. “I commend Governor Hochul for her decision to request the additional funding to support this necessary program, and for her dedication to preserving the rights and dignity of our most vulnerable communities.”