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$1 billion in rent relief funds stuck: Landlords and tenants cannot access federal help

Half of the money that was intended to help renters and landlords across New York has been held up by bureaucracy, according to a new report.

Six months after the program has launched nearly $1 billion of the rent aid money that was set aside by federal officials for New Yorkers struggling to pay rent has not made its way to those individuals.

The state says the hold-up is connected to missing paperwork. Around 82,000 of the applications submitted months ago remain incomplete, which has complicated things.

When Governor Kathy Hochul took office, among the biggest criticisms of former Governor Andrew Cuomo, was that not enough effort was made to end the slow-roll of those funds.

Months later it appears little has been done to actually address it.

To make matters worse, a third of those incomplete applications for rental aid date back to June.

One issue? The state is having a lot of trouble connecting tenants and landlords. Either because tenants didn’t provide contact information for their landlord on the application, or because of ‘property management companies’ not having a direct owner.

For example, the funds from the rent relief fund is supposed to go directly to landlords to clear the back-rent of tenants from the pandemic.

The landlords are having the same problem. When they go through the state’s process for applying for funds, the state isn’t successfully matching tenants to them – despite having the information.

Advocates say it’s an example of how pandemic response went wrong – with repeated failures to get money into the hands of tenants and landlords who needed it.

The problem likely will not be resolved until sometime in 2022.

RELATED: How badly has NYS handled the rent relief program funded by feds? (Spectrum News)