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Applications for New York State Rent Relief Program Reopen

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Dec. 22, 2020 By Allie Griffin

New Yorkers who are struggling to pay their rent as a result of coronavirus-related layoffs or pay cuts can now apply for a rental relief grant–once again.

Governor Andrew Cuomo opened applications for the “COVID Rent Relief Program,” which provides a one-time payment of rental assistance directly to a person’s landlord, for a second time last Friday.

He announced earlier this month that the state would reopen the application window and expand the program’s eligibility so more rent relief can be provided to New Yorkers.

The program first opened in mid July and closed after about three weeks. Queens residents received a total of $6,291,940 in subsidies through the first round, with the average subsidy per person equaling $2,561.

The second application period runs from Dec. 18 through Feb. 1 and previous applicants do not need to reapply. The state will re-evaluate all past applications based on the new criteria.

The grants will cover the difference between a households’ rent burden on March 1 and the increase in rent burden for the months the household is applying for assistance.

For example, tenants who were allocating 35 percent of their monthly income toward rent on March 1–and have since lost their jobs– might now be shelling out 50 percent of their monthly income just to cover rent. The grant program will cover the increase to bring tenants back down to paying 35 percent of their monthly income to rent.

The grant program uses March 1 as the baseline marker, since this was the last month most people were able to pay their rent.

Tenants can choose to apply the grant money to missed payments, beginning with April rent, or to future payments. They do not need to pay the money back to the state.

Eligible households with the greatest economic and social need will be prioritized for the rental subsidies.

To be eligible for the program, tenants must meet all of the following criteria —

They must be a renter and have a primary residence in New York State.

They must have lost income sometime from April 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020.

Before March 7, 2020, their household income must have been at 80 percent of the area median income in their county or less — adjusted for household size.

They must be “rent burdened” — meaning they are paying more than 30 percent of their gross monthly income for rent — during the months they are applying for assistance.

People who live with roommates can either apply to the grant program alone for just their portion of monthly rent or as a household for the full monthly rent.

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6 Comments

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Ghost of Leviticus

Universal basic income would be a disaster. We already have forms of it through various welfare and other benefits programs. It leads to idleness and lack of purpose which manifests into drug use, alcoholism, and depression. People need work, not handouts.

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jenastoriat

One significant problem with this program is that it is not going to help those that scrapped rent together at the expense of paying other necessities, like ConEd or support. It is also not helping those already having a temporary problem pre-April and then could not get work. Falls short again, and its why we need universal basic income. Too many fall in the technical gaps.

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Pat Macnamara

its why we need universal basic income No we need people to get a job and stop freeloading off the government. It has been 9 months and people whose industries have been annihilated by this are still trying to figure this out. There are jobs out there. Stop waiting for the government to give you a handout. That handout everyone is expecting and demanding will result in much higher taxes and drive the economy to the brink of collapse.

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AstoriaGal

Totally agree with Jen’s comment. Many people are going without other necessities like meds, food, etc. just to pay their rent. This help is overdue, but it’s not enough. And this $600 that’s finally coming will be gone in a flash for most people. Amazing that New York City residents pay city, state and federal taxes and then have to beg for the help that’s obviously needed and deserved!

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