Gov. Kathy Hochul vowed to speed up the state’s distribution of rent relief to tenants as the eviction moratorium ends next week, during her inaugural address as the Empire State’s chief executive Tuesday.
“I want the money out now, I want it out with no more excuses and delays,” said Hochul during the virtual speech on Aug. 24.
She announced the launch of a new campaign to reach more New Yorkers and make them aware of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which has set aside some $2.7 billion of mostly federal funds to help residents pay their rent.
Hochul’s team has hired more staff to process applications, assigned a team to find any more barriers, and the state’s top pol said she wants to form a “real partnership” with legislators and local officials, especially in New York City, which accounts for 63% of all state renter households.
The state’s eviction moratorium is set to expire on Aug. 31, and more than one-in-four, or 26%, of households in the New York City in the metropolitan area are behind on rent, according to a report from State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
But Hochul noted that those who qualify for the rent relief program can avoid losing a roof over their head for another year.
“New Yorkers should know: if you apply and qualify for this money you will be protected from eviction for a solid year,” she said.
The federally-funded program administered by the state was slow to start with technical and language translation issues, and has disbursed only $156 million, or about 6%, and reached 14,000 households, the New York Times reported last week.
The Empire State’s first woman governor said she wanted to get money out “with the same intensity” to New Yorkers who were unable to access governmental support under the state’s $2.1 billion Excluded Workers Fund, which was established as part of the state budget this year.
The program is intended to support workers who couldn’t access unemployment benefits and stimulus checks during the pandemic, such as undocumented New Yorkers.
“They’re hurting and they’re part of the New York family and I’m going to make that very clear,” so Hochul.
To apply for state rent relief, you can visit www.nysrenthelp.otda.ny.gov or call the state’s hotline at (844) 691–7368.
To apply for the Excluded Workers Fund, go to www.dol.ny.gov/EWF or call 877-EWF-4NYS ((877) 393–4697).