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LAS Demands Improved Rent Relief Measures From New York State

The Legal Aid Society and housing advocates are decrying New York State’s handling of rent relief funding, and demanding action to rectify past mistakes, as reported by New York Focus.

Grouping New York’s rent relief measures into the state budget proposal process is a factor behind the struggle to get the program online. Nearly three months after the federal government allotted $25 billion in emergency pandemic assistance for tenants, New York has yet to begin distributing nearly $1.3 billion in relief funds.

Advocates are also warning against Governor Cuomo’s push for stringent proof-of-eligibility requirements and warn that they may continue to hamper efforts to disburse emergency funds to New Yorkers struggling to stay in their homes. The state’s last rent relief program rejected the vast majority of applicants and distributed only $47 million of its $100 million budget.

“The Senate and Assembly learned their lesson, because you can see some of the mistakes not repeated in their proposals,” said Ellen Davidson, a tenant attorney at The Legal Aid Society. “I’m hoping that the executive will take a moment to think about why that program failed and be part of designing a program that succeeds.”