With New York’s eviction moratorium expiring tomorrow, Tuesday, August 31, New Yorkers who have fallen behind on rent are being urged to apply for rental assistance as soon as possible.

Tenants who file an application for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program cannot be evicted while the application is under review, housing nonprofit Impacct Brooklyn says.

The program can cover up to twelve months rent and utilities arrears payments, as well as three months of additional assistance for future rent, and applicants will not need to repay this assistance. 

Although the program has been heavily criticized for taking so long to reach residents in need, State Sen. Roxanne Persaud (whose district includes parts of Canarsie, East New York, and Mill Basin) told BK Reader last week that the long-delayed assistance was on the way.

“At least 41,000 notices [of emergency rental assistance approval] are going out this week. If you have a case pending against you in court, you can show that letter.” 

To apply for the fund, click here.

According to Impacct Brooklyn, since applications were opened more than 120,000 New York tenants (including 91,000 households in New York City) have applied for the aid, which is being administrated by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). The state anticipates the program will serve between 170,000 and 200,000 households, and only about 120,000 households have applied so far.

Now, housing advocates are urging anyone with outstanding to rent to apply to the fund immediately, as, come Aug. 31, all back rent will be due and landlords can start to legally sue for eviction.

For tenants who filed an application to the fund — which still contains more than $1 billion – eviction proceedings cannot be launched.

To qualify for the fund, a household income must be less than 80% of the Area Median Income ($95,450 for a family of four), have experienced a financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, or be behind on rent for some time after March 2020.

The application takes between an hour and a half to two hours to complete online, and tenants must complete the entire application in one session. There is no paper application option.

That means tenants without a computer need to complete their application on their phone, or get help from a family, friend, or organization that can provide computer access.

Undocumented tenants can qualify for rent relief; however, there is no specific form to fill out if you don’t have formal documents to show your loss of income or rent debt amount. You have to write those letters yourself.

To apply for the fund, click here.

Brooklyn tenants that need help applying for the fund can contact one of the following organizations for assistance:

Tenants can also contact the OTDA ERAP Hotline: (844) NY1 – RENT or (844) 691-7368 or visit www.otda.ny.gov/ERAP

Over the weekend, Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) led the city’s Congressional delegation to call on Governor Kathy Hochul to extend the state’s eviction moratorium.

Following the Supreme Court’s recent decision effectively ending the federal eviction moratorium, extension of the state measure is the only way to protect renters at risk of losing their homes in the face of financial strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jeffries said.

“House Democrats and the Biden-Harris Administration have made funds available for landlords and renters through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, but these resources have been too slow in reaching New Yorkers,” Jeffries said.

“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment, and Governor Hochul should use her authority to ensure that no one is evicted while we work together to improve the rental assistance process for everyday New Yorkers.”

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Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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