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New York State announces COVID-19 rental assistance program for low-income tenants

The emergency rental assistance program aims to provide direct aid to low-income tenants who lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

NEW YORK — Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new COVID-19 rental assistance program on Tuesday for New Yorkers who are in need.

The emergency rental assistance program aims to provide direct aid to low-income tenants who lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic. Through the program eligible households will receive a one time rental subsidy, which will be paid directly to landlords and housing providers. 

The program is open to households that rent apartments, single-family homes, manufactured homes and manufactured home lots, according to the governor's office.

Tenants are not required to repay the emergency rental assistance program. The governor's office says the program is funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is part of the CARES Act.

"Since day one we made it clear that no New Yorkers should be thrown on the streets because of hardships caused by this pandemic," Governor Cuomo said. "It's critically important that people are able to stay safely in their homes as we progress through our data-driven, phased reopening, and the COVID Rent Relief Program reinforces that commitment with direct assistance to those in the greatest need." 

In order to qualify for the program, applicants must meet all of the requirements below:

  • You must be a renter with a primary residence in New York State.
  • Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, household income (including unemployment benefits) must be below 80 percent of the Area Median Income, adjusted for household size. Applicants can find the Area Median Income for their county, based on household size, on HCR's website here.
  • Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, the household must have been "rent burdened," which is defined as paying more than 30 percent of gross monthly income towards rent.
  • Applicants must have lost income during any period between April 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020.
  • The application period will be open for two weeks. Residents can apply any time during the two-week period.

The governor's office says HCR will prioritize households with the greatest economic and social need. Income, rent burden, percent of income lost and risk of homelessness will all be taken into account.

Households can apply for up to four months in rental assistance for the months of April through July.

Applications for the program will be available starting Thursday. Click here to fill out an application.

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