Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an executive order on Thursday expanding rent relief for New Yorkers impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic.
A bill that was signed in the spring set aside $100 million for rent relief. It was federal funding, which needed to be allocated to specific individuals on an applied basis.
The executive order will extend the window New Yorkers will have to apply for assistance through the bill. Spectrum News reported that approximately $23 million had been allocated earlier in the fall, and that there were another 5,411 pending applications accounting for approximately $16.7 million.
It means only about 40% of the total available funds have been allocated, and housing advocates say that it hasn’t been handled properly.
Governor Cuomo says with $60 million still on the table, an executive order will amend the bill passed earlier this year – extending the window.
“The legislature passed a rent assistance bill. The rent assistance bill appropriated $100 million, up to $100 million, but had eligibility requirements on what income levels could qualify. We ran the program. The number of eligible applicants, only brought us to $40 million in rental aid by the parameters of the law,” he said Thursday. “By executive order I’m going to change the law. I’ve spoken to the legislative leaders about this – reopen the application window, extend the eligibility requirements to help more New Yorkers.”
One main concern advocates had was with the timing. The bill was adopted at a point when unemployed New Yorkers were still receiving $600 per week through the CARES Act.
The bill provides up to four months of rent relief for those who apply and are approved.
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