NY COVID Rental Assistance Applications Open Tuesday

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New Yorkers who have fallen behind on their rent during the pandemic can apply to the state’s $2.7 billion Rental Assistance program beginning Tuesday. Similar applications for $800 million in Small Business Recovery Grants can be submitted beginning June 10.

Administered by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide up to 12 months of past-due rent, three months of prospective rental assistance and 12 months of utility arrears payments to eligible New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status.

Protesters demand more housing and rent assistance for low-income renters in Broome County outside the Department of Social Services last year. (Jillian Forstadt/WSKG)

During the first 30 days, the program will prioritize those who are unemployed, those with income at or below 50 percent of area median income and other vulnerable populations at risk of homelessness. After the first 30 days, applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, as long as funds remain available.

The program is expected to serve 170,000 to 200,000 households.

In Broome County, the Department of Social Services is contracting with United Way to provide outreach and application assistance through direct mailing, email and social media. 211 call center staff will also assist applications and residents can schedule appointments for one-on-one assistance.

The small business grants available next week will make available $5,000 to $50,000 for operating expenses, including payroll, rent or mortgage payments, taxes, utilities, personal protective equipment, or other business expenses incurred during the pandemic and will be calculated based on annual gross receipts for 2019.

The state said priority will be given to socially and economically disadvantaged business owners, including minority- and women-owned business enterprises, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses and veteran-owned businesses, and businesses located in economically distressed communities.

Over 330,000 small and micro businesses are potentially eligible for this program. Empire State Development has created a website – NYSBusinessRecovery.ny.gov – to highlight the various resources available to support small businesses seeking pandemic relief.

“New Yorkers and small businesses in every corner of the state were devastated by the pandemic, and as we continue to recover and rebuild, we need to make sure they have the resources they need get back on their feet and succeed in a new, reimagined economy,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo when the programs were announced.

The programs are paid for with a combination of federal and state funds.