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3 towns are taking applications for an estimated $35M in rent relief

Islip Landing, a development in Central Islip, in

Islip Landing, a development in Central Islip, in 2006. Credit: Newsday / Daniel Goodrich

Three towns are taking applications for millions in federal rent relief.

Hempstead, Islip and Oyster Bay collectively have about $35 million available, assuming they each spend 10% of their federal funds on outreach and administration, as authorized, town and federal data shows.

The towns say they're publicizing their programs and striving to reach as many residents as possible. Under federal guidelines, low-income tenants who incurred a financial hardship during COVID-19 may be eligible for assistance.

Funds are exhausted in the Town of Brookhaven and dwindling elsewhere in the region, according to the state, which is distributing rent relief on behalf of most Long Island localities.

Hempstead has received 1,260 applications and 570 intake forms for an upcoming round of relief, the town said last week. Officials are working to expand that number with promotional campaigns.

"Bilingual advertisements have reached the community on television, radio and social media, and via community channels like food pantries and places of worship. In addition to this broad outreach, complexes with high numbers of eligible applicants have been targeted for in-person informational efforts," town spokesman Greg Blower said in a statement.

About $27.42 million of the $45.47 million the federal government allocated for Hempstead has been obligated — either paid out or committed to a qualified tenant, the town said. Of that funding, $2.14 million has been issued on behalf of nearly 270 households. The towns' data does not yet include information on outreach and administrative expenses.

Islip has fielded nearly 2,660 applications, but some have been duplicates of one another or incomplete, the town said last week. Of the $19.76 million available, about $5.55 million has been obligated, including $4.39 million issued on behalf of more than 290 households.

"The Town of Islip has reached the expenditure goals as set forth by the US Treasury, and will continue to accept applications and assist our Islip residents until all funds have been obligated," town spokeswoman Caroline Smith said in a statement.

Oyster Bay has gathered more than 170 applications for its $15.85 million in aid, the town said last week. About $4.98 million has been obligated, of which about $1.25 million has been spent on behalf of almost 100 households.

The rent relief is sent directly to landlords and may cover up to 12 months of unpaid rent and utility bills, as well as three months of prospective rent. The assistance is open to tenants who earn no more than 80% of the area median income — or $103,900 annually for a family of four on Long Island.

Under state law, New Yorkers who apply for the funds may not be evicted while their paperwork is processed. An eviction moratorium also protects many tenants through Jan. 15.

"Federal funds are helping prevent homelessness for many residents," Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said in a statement.

Head: Rent relief progress

Deck: How far along three towns are in distributing aid, as of last week

Excel sent via email

Source: Amounts budgeted were provided by U.S. Department of the Treasury data and include money available for administrative costs, as well as rent relief payments. The other data was provided by town officials last week.

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