New York State extends rental assistance program

NY State will extend the state’s rental assistance program to help New Yorkers struggling to pay their rent.

Governor Andrew Cuomo will expand eligibility requirements for rental assistance and tap into federal funds.  NY State appropriated up to $100 million from the federal Cares Act, but because of eligibility requirements, only $40 million in rental aid had been distributed so far, to only about 15,000 New York households.

Currently, renters must earn less than 80 percent of the area median income—which in NYC is $90,960 for a four-person family, and pay more than 30 percent of their income towards rent before the pandemic. Governor Andrew Cuomo will expand the eligibility requirements so that an additional $60 million can be distributed to New York households.

But a visiting professor at New York Law School says “the amount of rent in arrears right now is astronomical. The $100 million, which may sound like a lot of money in the abstract, compared to the actual billions of dollars now in rental arrears, is a drop in the bucket.”

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