Millions of people struggle to afford rent in New York, especially minimum wage workers for whom the cost of renting can be completely unaffordable. COVID-19 has made that situation even more difficult to manage, leaving many New Yorkers in a state of uncertainty. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) was created to address just that, and now Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office has announced an even easier application for federal COVID-19 rent relief, pledging that any eligible New Yorker needing assistance will receive it by August 31.

What Has Changed Regarding the New York Rental Assistance Program?

  • The new ERAP process relaxes documentation standards for both tenants and landlords

  • It will help the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (ODTA) clear the backlog of applications, which totals 160,000 as of now, and select viable applications by next Saturday, August 7

  • OTDA will be current with payments for all pending, verified applications by Tuesday, August 31

  • Vendors working with New York on the rent relief program will be onboarding more accounting experts, adding to their team of over 1,000 staff

  • OTDA will also bring on at least 350 more state staff volunteers from other agencies

What About the Emergency Ban on Evictions?

The August 31st deadline to clear the backlog of applications pairs with the expiration of the emergency ban on evictions. This emergency ban was created to curb the spread of COVID-19 by keeping people in their homes and allow OTDA time to get the federal program up and ready to deal with the influx of applications. Governor Cuomo promised Monday that it would be that way and rent relief would go out in time across the state by the August 31st deadline.

ERAP is expected to provide aid to up to 200,000 households, and cover up to 12 months of unpaid rent and utilities accrued since March 13, 2020 for those who meet certain incomes requirements and hardship eligibility measures. ERAP also provides tenant protections, requiring landlords to waive late fees, keep rents steady, and not evict in order to receive assistance. If more than 30% of your household’s monthly income goes towards rent, you can qualify for ERAP and receive rent relief. Apply at  Emergency Rental Assistance Program | OTDA (ny.gov)