Legal Aid Society


NYS Will Finally Begin Taking Applications for Rent Relief in June

Attorneys at The Legal Aid Society and housing advocates across the state welcomed Tuesday’s announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo that New York’s beleaguered rent relief program – which will disburse $2.4 billion in federal and state funds to vulnerable tenants struggling with pandemic-related rental debt – will finally begin accepting applications for the funds on June 1.

Households will be able to cover up to a year of rent and utility payments stretching back to March 13, 2020, through ERAP. Tenants who put more than 30% of their monthly income toward rent may also get up to three months of future rent covered. For the first 30 days of the program, Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) will prioritize applications from households whose income is at or below 50% of the median income for their area. During that window, the state says it will favor additional circumstances, like tenants who are unemployed or have pending eviction cases.

“It seems like the program is being set up to be successful,” said Ellen Davidson, a staff attorney in the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society told THE CITY. “Every indication that we have had is that the state wants to give this money out and wants it to start flowing easily and quickly.”

“We have all sorts of plans to reach out to clients and we have a big team to make this work,” she continued. “We will keep an eye on the program to make sure it is working well.”