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New York is fumbling rental assistance: Less than 15% of applications processed, tenants and landlords in flux

How much of the rental assistance from the American Rescue Plan has been dispersed in New York?

Not much at all, according to a new report from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

The report found that just $108.8 million out of more than $2 billion has been disbursed under the Emergency Rental Assistance Fund. Billions had been earmarked for landlords and tenants struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“There are billions in federal aid to help renters who fell behind on payments in the pandemic, but this money isn’t getting to them,” DiNapoli said. “The state can and must do a better job getting this aid into the hands of New Yorkers that could face evictions. New York’s Congressional delegation has pushed for more efficient distribution of funds, while lawmakers have rightly proposed extending the state’s eviction moratorium. We must make sure that we don’t lose these critical funds, and that the renters most in need of help don’t get left behind.”

The report faulted management of the program and its implementation by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

Aid in many instances simply had not reached low-income people.

As of August 9, the agency made 7,072 payments to households despite having received over 168,000 applicants, and more than 1.2 million low-income eligible properties in New York City alone.

The report found that New York is even lagging behind other states in the U.S.