State Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assembly member Grace Lee are calling for the 2023-2024 New York State budget to include $389 million in funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (“ERAP”). Landlords, public housing authorities and affordable housing managers are anxiously awaiting word on whether the state will help alleviate their financial distress by allocating funds to cover significant rental arrears for government-subsidized housing units.
Background on Emergency Rental Assistance Program
ERAP is a New York economic relief program developed to help eligible households receive assistance to pay rental and utility arrears accumulated during the COVID-19 crisis. The program was designed to intentionally prioritize tenants who reside in private-sector housing, leaving many tenants of subsidized or public housing without access to such funds. The program’s enacting legislation requires ERAP applications from subsidized housing tenants be paid after all other eligible applicants are reviewed and paid. This prioritization harmed tenants and landlords who rely on public funds for rental payments, as ERAP ran out of money long before all eligible participants’ needs were met.
Existing ERAP Applications
Although the New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (“OTDA”) stopped accepting new ERAP applications in January 2023, the agency is still processing approximately 172,000 applications. The uncertainty regarding payments is disfavored by landlords because eviction proceedings are stayed until the OTDA makes a determination on the tenant’s application. In addition, tenants of public and subsidized housing across the state are upset because they face the threat of eviction despite successfully applying for ERAP.
The OTDA received more than 400,000 applications for ERAP funds. As of the end of March 2023, the OTDA has made payments on roughly 230,000 tenant applications. The OTDA reports that $2.89 billion have been paid to landlords since the program launched.
Request for Additional Funding
Governor Hochul has requested additional funding from the U.S. Treasury Department to help cover unmet needs for landlords and tenants. The OTDA estimates $347 million in ERAP and related federal funds remain, but $343 million of which will be granted to eligible private-sector tenants due to the program’s priorities. In light of such insufficient funds, several state legislators are calling for an additional $389 million to help both landlords and subsidized and public housing tenants.
The New York State budget was temporarily extended through April 20, 2023, and there are several contentious issues to be determined, included Governor Hochul’s Housing Compact. The Housing Compact details the Governor’s plan to build 800,000 new homes over the next decade in response to New York’s housing shortage.
Harris Beach’s Affordable Housing team is monitoring this development. Should you have questions about ERAP or would like to be informed of any future developments on this topic, please feel free to reach out to Michael E. Condon at (585) 419-8603 and firstname.lastname@example.org; Melanie C. Marotto at (716) 200-5230 and email@example.com; Charles W. Russell at (585) 419-8635 and firstname.lastname@example.org; or Linnea B. Spagnoletti at (585) 419-8623 and email@example.com.
This alert does not purport to be a substitute for advice of counsel on specific matters.
Harris Beach has offices throughout New York State, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Long Island, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse and White Plains, as well as New Haven, Connecticut, Washington, D.C. and Newark, New Jersey.
For more information on affordable housing:
Federal Reserve Bank of New York Releases Study on Multifamily Affordable Housing Private Investment Vehicles
New York Governor Hochul Announces Aggressive, Statewide New Housing Strategy