Emergency Rental Assistance Program Launches June 1st

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From the Broome County Department of Social Services:

The New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) will begin in Broome County next week. This effort will provide significant economic relief to help low- and moderate-income households at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Eligible residents will be able to apply for assistance beginning June 1st via a portal located on the NYS Office of Temporary Disability Assistance (OTDA) website, https://otda.ny.gov/programs/emergency-rental-assistance/#overview.

New York residents are eligible for ERAP if they meet ALL the following criteria:

· Household gross income is at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). A household may qualify based on current income or calendar year 2020 income that is at or below 80 percent AMI. These income limits differ by county and household size.

· On or after March 13, 2020, a member of the household received unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs or experienced financial hardship, directly or indirectly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

· The applicant is obligated to pay rent at their primary residence and has rental arrears (rent overdue) at their current residence for rent owed on or after March 13, 2020.

· The household must be at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which can be demonstrated by having rental arrears owed on or after March 13, 2020.

Households eligible for rental arrears may also be eligible for help paying utility arrears at the same rental unit.

If approved for ERAP, households may receive:

· Up to 12 months of rental arrears payments for rents accrued on or after March 13, 2020.

· Up to 3 months of additional rental assistance if the household is expected to spend 30 percent or more of their gross monthly income to pay for rent.

· Up to 12 months of electric or gas utility arrears payments for arrears that have accrued on or after March 13, 2020.

Payments will be made directly to the landlord/property owner and utility company on behalf of the tenant. Tenant applicants will be notified of the amounts paid on their behalf. If a landlord is difficult to locate or does not otherwise provide information needed to complete the application, funds will be held for up to 180 days to allow sufficient time to locate the landlord and collect required information as well as to provide tenant protections and maximize landlord participation.

Broome County DSS is contracting with United Way to provide outreach and application assistance. Targeted outreach efforts will be provided through direct mailing, email, and social media.

We will also be utilizing the existing 211 call center staff to assist applications. In addition, 211 staff will have the ability to schedule appointments for those who need one on one assistance. Those appointments will be provided at the Broome County DSS Office located at 501 Reynolds Road Johnson City.

A help line has also been established for assistance: 1 (844) NY1-RENT. This line will be available 7 days a week between 8:00 AM and 7:00 PM for the first two weeks and then 6 days a week from 8:00 AM until 7:00 PM.

More details can be found on the County website (https://www.gobroomecounty.com/dss) and on the NYS Office of Temporary Disability Assistance website (https://otda.ny.gov/programs/Emergency-Rental-Assistance/).

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