The two highest officials of the state of New York are joining forces to seek more federal COVID funds as the state eviction moratorium ends on January 15.
Governor Kathy Hochul and Big Apple mayor Eric Adams are now exerting efforts to bring some relief to the struggling tenants and landlords.
Hochul has appealed to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to make more federal pandemic funds available for struggling tenants and landlords.
“Our states… are facing an immediate need now, and unused emergency funding that is eligible for reallocation should be deployed in an accelerated manner to keep families stabilized and housed as we continue to address the current surge of COVID-19,” Hochul wrote in a letter she and the governors of California, New Jersey, and Illinois sent to Yellen.
According to reports, New York’s overburdened Emergency Rental Assistance Program paid out more than $1.3 billion of its initial $2 billion allotments to more than 104,000 claims. With the remainder of the funds already tied to approved applications, there are more than 85,000 outstanding claims left unfunded and more likely being filed as the state’s eviction ban is slated to expire on Saturday.
Last September, sought $1 billion in funds to boost the program, run by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
However, the feds only offered up $27 million.
“We were disappointed in the amount of additional rental relief funds available from the U.S. Treasury to be reallocated to New York, and given that our Emergency Rental Assistance Program portal already reopened this week, I am asking the Treasury to revisit its process,” Hochul said.
Meanwhile, Adams supported the call of Hochul for additional funding and called the feds $27 million in supplemental funds as “insulting to our state.”
“That is not going to solve the problem we need to solve,” Adams said.
“New York City has the highest rent in the nation. One-third of renters here spend 50% of their income on rent – 50%. The federal government must help working people in this state,” Adams added.
Aside from funding, Adams also encouraged New Yorkers who face eviction to take advantage of the city’s right to counsel law allowing tenants to hire a lawyer free of charge to represent them in housing court.
“We want New Yorkers to know that they’re not alone,” he said.
“We are in this together,” he added.