Housing activists are again sounding the alarm as the New York state budget deadline approaches. They argue that thousands of New Yorkers are facing eviction and foreclosure as both moratoria have expired, and even more New Yorkers are currently homeless.
The state’s eviction moratorium expired on Jan. 15, but tenant advocates argue that it’s critical to keep the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) open because once a tenant applies for funding through this program, he or she cannot be evicted.
To that end, the state Assembly and Senate have included almost $1 billion in their one-house budgets to fund ERAP.
“They want to take some of the COVID money that the state got and put it into the ERAP program,” said Judith Goldiner, attorney-in-charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “Obviously, that money would make a big difference towards making sure we can pay the folks who’ve applied so far, while we are still waiting for more money to come in.”
Goldiner also spoke with Capital Tonight about a housing access voucher bill which she supports, and 485w, a replacement for an affordable housing program called 421a floated by Gov. Kathy Hochul, which she does not support.
“It’s a boondoggle,” Goldiner told Capital Tonight about 485w.
Background on ERAP:
- More than 135,000 payments have been made to landlords totaling nearly $1.7 billion
- Additionally, about 32,000 tenant applications with an estimated value of $403 million are provisionally approved and pending landlord verification
- More than 120,000 applications remain unfunded, including those from subsidized housing
- There is no federal funding available for applications submitted after Oct. 7, in most areas of the state, including New York City
- Applications submitted and received after Oct. 7, 2021, continue to be reviewed and paid in areas of the state where the jurisdiction’s allocation is not fully exhausted. This includes Nassau County (not including the towns of Hempstead or Oyster Bay) and Suffolk County (not including the towns of Babylon, Brookhaven, or Islip)
- The recently reallocated funding from the U.S. Treasury, $119 million, will fund roughly 8,500 pending applications
- OTDA will continue to request additional assistance from the Treasury if and when these opportunities avail themselves
- The U.S. Treasury is expected to release guidance within the next few weeks regarding reallocating funding from its second emergency rental assistance funding pool