New York is slated to receive $27.21 million more in rent relief — or roughly 3% of the $996 million Gov. Kathy Hochul requested from the federal government in November, her administration said.
Back in November, the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance stopped accepting applications for rent relief in communities that had exhausted their share of $2.4 billion in federal rent relief.
Around that time, Hochul sought $996 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury, which was in the process of reclaiming rental assistance that states and municipalities hadn't used, and redirecting it to high-need communities.
Long Island renters who have struggled financially during the pandemic may still apply for aid, except for those in the towns of Brookhaven and Babylon, where all available funds have been spent or obligated.
The towns of Hempstead, Islip and Oyster Bay opted to independently distribute their funding and are still accepting applications, according to their websites.
With just $27.21 million more in federal money coming into the pipeline, OTDA estimates it will be able to assist about 2,180 of the 100,000 unfunded applications it has received, according to an affidavit from OTDA Executive Deputy Commissioner Barbara Guinn.
Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said any additional funding would be helpful.
"The program was a lifeline for so many people," Schaffer said. "When they lift that [eviction moratorium], you're going to see more people who are going to be in need of assistance."
The assistance is open to tenants who earn no more than 80% of the median income — $94,900 for a family of four in Nassau or Suffolk — and who struggled to pay their rent because of financial difficulties brought on by COVID-19. The funding may cover up to 12 months of unpaid rent and three months of prospective rent.
Tenants who have an application pending will be shielded from eviction while their paperwork is reviewed — even after the state's eviction moratorium expires on Jan. 15.
The state has distributed nearly $4.86 million on behalf of 245 households in Nassau, and $28.81 million on behalf of 1,660 households in Suffolk, according to OTDA data current through Dec. 29. Statewide, about $1.25 billion has been paid to landlords on behalf of 100,100 households. Another $770 million has been committed to about 61,500 tenants.
Hochul will continue to push for more federal assistance, according to her spokesman Bryan Lesswing.
"While we are disappointed in the amount of additional rental relief funds the U.S. Treasury has reallocated to New York at this time, the State will continue pursuing all avenues to secure federal funding that keeps New Yorkers in their homes," Lesswing said.
In addition to the federal program, the state is running a rent relief initiative currently accepting applications from tenants in higher income brackets — 80% to 120% of area median income — from any part of the state.