New York state officials on Tuesday evening once again began accepting applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, but at the same time called for additional federal aid to continue to meet the outstanding need.
Applications are once again being taken, meanwhile, as the state's ban on evictions for tenants who have faced a pandemic-related financial hardship is set to expire on Saturday.
The state previously requested an additional $1 billion for the assistance program and received $27 million from the federal government last year. All told, New York has either paid or obligated more than $2 billion in assistance funds.
"Reopening the application portal without additional funding to support the backlog of existing and future applications runs the risk of giving struggling New Yorkers false hope for critical financial relief that — without federal intervention — simply doesn’t exist," said the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. "Our appeal to the Treasury represents the latest in our continued and vigorous advocacy for tenants and landlords still reeling from the financial impact of the pandemic."
Gov. Kathy Hochul at a news conference on Tuesday said she was discussing with lawmakers the future of the eviction moratorium, which had previously been extended late last summer after a similar federal ban expired.
Landlords have called for the state ban to be lifted as well, and have urged state officials to take broader approaches to addressing affordable housing issues as well as reopening of all housing courts.
"It's time to end the eviction moratorium and put an end to tenants skipping the rent because there are no repercussions for not paying," said Joseph Strasburg, the president of the Rent Stabilization Association, a trade group that represents 25,000 owners and managers.
Small landlords have also struggled with back taxes and mortgage payments owed during the moratorium.
"The state of emergency was lifted last June, tenants have received billions of dollars in rent relief and other federal and state assistance, and despite COVID variants, the economy continues to rebound with millions of job openings still waiting to be filled," he added. "It's time to end the eviction moratorium and put an end to tenants skipping the rent because there are no repercussions for not paying."