NY’s COVID Rent Relief Program Still Accepting Applicants as Fed Unemployment $$$ Stops 

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Signs hang from the Meridian Heights apartment building in Washington, DC. (Caroline Brehman / CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

By: Rusty Brooks

The application period for the Division of Homes and Community Renewal’s Covid-19 Rent Relief Program was set to expire July 30 after launching July 16, but it will now be open through Aug. 6, Crain’s reported.

“The Legislature designed the Covid Rent Relief Program to help New Yorkers who are the most at-risk and rent-burdened after losing income due to the pandemic,” HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said in a statement. “By keeping the online portal open for another week, we can make sure everyone who needs to apply for assistance has the opportunity to do so.”

Curbed NY reported in July on the qualifications for this particular relief program:

To be eligible for the subsidy, which can be applied to rent for the months of April through July, a tenant must have earned below 80 percent of the area median income in their area prior to the outbreak of the pandemic — that’s about $82,000 for a family of three in New York City.

Applicants must also have already been paying more than 30 percent of their household income toward rent as of March, and then have suffered a loss of income during the state’s stay-at-home order that increased their rent payments to an even greater share of their income.

This comes at a time where unemployment in NYC is very high, and the COVID-19 emergency $600 unemployment has run out temporarily and is still up in the air as Republicans and Democrats battle over a stimulus package.

Investapedia reported that as of June, New York City’s unemployment rate stood at 20.4%, up from 18.3% in May, and nearly twice the national average. With hundreds of thousands of front-line workers, especially in the services and hospitality industries, more than 1.3 million New Yorkers have filed for unemployment, according to the New York City Dept. of Labor. African American and Hispanic workers have been impacted the most, as they comprise a large portion of the service industries, where most front-line workers are employed. July numbers are not available yet.

Curbed gave the public a quick rundown how New Yorkers can apply for this rent relief program:

Three core documents are needed to apply: a government-issued ID, a lease or another contractual obligation that indicates the rent amount, and proof of a household’s gross income both prior to March and at present (that could be pay stubs, letters from an employer, or federal or state tax returns). Renters can file applications through the state’s Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) website through August 6.

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