CORONAVIRUS USA

COVID Rental Assistance Program NY: what is it and how to access?

"Since day one we made it clear that no New Yorkers should be thrown on the streets because of hardships caused by this pandemic," Governor Cuomo stated at the launch.

COVID Rental Assistance Program NY: what is it and how to access?
Jeenah Moon AFP

With the objective of assisting low-income families in keeping their homes, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced an emergency rental program, which provides direct aid for those that were hit financially because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

With funding from the CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, applications were made available from 16 July. You can access the application to the program here.

COVID Rental Assistance Program

According to the official website for the New York government, under the new program, eligible households will benefit from a one-time rental subsidy paid directly to landlords and housing providers. Importantly, tenants are not required to repay this assistance.

To qualify for the program, which is administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), applicants must meet all of the eligibility requirements.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Must be a renter with a primary residence in New York State.
  • Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, household income (including unemployment benefits) must be below 80 percent of the Area Median Income, adjusted for household size. Applicants can find the Area Median Income for their county, based on household size, on HCR's website here.
  • Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, the household must have been "rent burdened," which is defined as paying more than 30 percent of gross monthly income towards rent.
  • Applicants must have lost income during any period between April 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020.

Note: The application period will be open for two weeks. Residents can apply any time during the two-week period.

Access the FAQs here.

What they are saying about the new scheme

NY Governor Cuomo

"Since day one we made it clear that no New Yorkers should be thrown on the streets because of hardships caused by this pandemic. It's critically important that people are able to stay safely in their homes as we progress through our data-driven, phased reopening, and the COVID Rent Relief Program reinforces that commitment with direct assistance to those in the greatest need."

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

"Despite the progress we have made in fighting COVID-19, millions of New Yorkers are struggling because of this virus and the economic crisis. Providing direct aid to overburdened renters will help these New Yorkers stay in their homes and be able to make ends meet. I applaud Senator Brian Kavanagh for advancing this legislation, my Senate Democratic Majority for passing it, and Governor Cuomo for signing it into law.

New York Governor Cuomo Holds Briefing In New YorkNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and team speak during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on 23 July 2020.

"While this effort will offer some relief, we know that government needs to step up and provide more support during this difficult time. We are going to keep advancing meaningful legislation to help New Yorkers, and we need the federal government to work with us and provide the resources our state needs."

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie

"For many New Yorkers, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the challenges of securing affordable housing even greater. The Assembly Majority has fought tirelessly for years to keep New Yorkers in their homes and in the communities that they helped shape. With many New Yorkers still out of work, we still need assistance from the federal government to help states deal with significant fiscal challenges. We must do everything in our power to help New York families.

"This rental assistance program, while still not enough to meet the tremendous needs that exist, is a step forward to lifting a financial burden off of our most vulnerable families. We will continue to look to do more to help people remain in their homes during this unprecedented time."