Tenants and landlords throughout New York state have been among some of the most negatively impacted due to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The need to provide financial relief has been obvious for quite some time, which is why our Conference has continued to call for the allocation of $2.4 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funds to be distributed to those in need.
Unfortunately, the program was painfully slow to be established, and since being set up by the state has been riddled with glitches. As a result, only a small fraction of the earmarked cash has been distributed — as of this week, only $177,000 out of the total $2.4 billion in emergency funding has found its way to renters and landlords. That’s the worst in the nation and completely unacceptable.
Making matters worse, if the state fails to fix the myriad issues plaguing the ERAP distribution, the federal government will be able to begin reclaiming a huge chunk of the money as soon as September of this year. If funds are not allocated by Sept. 30, New York tenants and landlords could lose out on $1.3 billion in funding.
Elected officials from every part of the state and on both sides of the aisle have called on the state to remedy this problem. Rightfully, federal and state eviction moratoriums are soon expiring. This funding is critical to alleviating the massive fiscal burden facing both landlords and tenants throughout the state, and its proper distribution will likely mean the difference in avoiding tens of thousands of eviction proceedings. And those proceedings are expected to be a substantial drain on the resources of landlords, renters and the courts.
The financial risk to New Yorkers is very real. This money is extremely important to the thousands of tenants who have fallen on difficult times due to COVID-19 and the small property owners who rely on rental income to pay their mortgages, bills and employees. Simply stated, the aid is there for a reason, and Gov. Cuomo’s administration has a responsibility to get it in the hands of those who need it now. For months, they have failed to fulfill that responsibility.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 19 Canalview Mall, Fulton, NY 13069 and by email at email@example.com. You may also find me, Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, on Facebook or on Twitter at @WillABarclay.