The New York Housing Conference joined more than 50 other New York housing leaders to call on the state to work to implement an emergency rental assistance program as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, relief is unlikely to be available to renters in April. Although more than a billion dollars in federal rent relief was appropriated in December, Albany is still talking about setting up a program, when we should already be implementing it. In fact, program terms have already been established by the U.S. Treasury Department.  While we can and should make changes to ensure that rental assistance maximizes housing stability and prevents evictions, it is critical not to over-legislate. Getting this money to building owners as soon as possible should be a priority, and that can only be achieved with broad and easy access for eligible parties.  

NYHC and housing leaders made recommendations for a program that would get the money out the door quickly, including:

  • Allow tenants to self-attest their eligibility
  • Allow tenants to receive assistance directly
  • Do not link rent relief to housing conditions
  • Make the program open to all eligible renters and landlords from the start of the program with no staggered

The letter also calls for the program to be transparent with regular reporting and calls on the legislature to expand protections including the eviction moratorium. You can find the full letter here.