Reopen NY: Cuomo announces help for renters impacted by coronavirus

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new rental assistance program for New York tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The emergency rental assistance is aimed at keeping low-income families in their homes.

It will provide direct aid for tenants who lost income due to the pandemic.

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

Eligible households will be given a one-time rental subsidy paid directly to landlords and housing providers. The money does not have to be paid back.

Renters must apply for the special subsidy, starting Thursday.

To qualify for the program, applicants must meet all 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.
-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 toward rent.
-Applicants must have lost income during any period between April 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020.
-The application period will be open for two weeks. Residents can apply any time during the two-week period.

The program is funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is part of the CARES Act. The program is administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

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