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Nassau announces $6 million in assistance for renters who lost wages during pandemic

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced a $6

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced a $6 million COVID-19 relief renting program that could help 900 renters in the county. Newsday's Chelsea Irizarry reports.  Credit: Howard Schnapp and Chelsea Irizarry

A $6 million program announced Tuesday will give rent relief to Nassau County residents who experienced economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic by providing direct payments to landlords to cover up to three months' of back rent.

Using federal emergency grants, the county will provide up to 900 renters who can demonstrate lost wages with assistance of as much as about $3,700 per month for three consecutive months of unpaid rent for the period that began in April.

"It is our hope that this rent relief minimizes the significant burden and the stress that so many of our families and our landlords are facing right now," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in announcing the program in front of the county building in Mineola.

Renters' income must be at or below 80% of the area's median income, and they must have had a lease agreement in effect before the pandemic started, or as of March, Curran said.

About 20% of Nassau County residents are renters, according to recent U.S. Census data. The median income in Nassau is about $116,000.

The rent relief will be administered through Community Development Corporation of Long Island, an affordable housing nonprofit based in Centereach. The application period opens Jan. 6.

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"While it doesn't alleviate all of the challenges that many of the households are facing — we do believe that it will start to chip away at the financial burden and the psychological burden that many families are dealing with," said Gwen O'Shea, president and CEO of CDCLI.

O'Shea said the "need far exceeds the resources that are currently available … Nassau County is one of the most expensive places to live in this country."

O'Shea said a hotline with staff members who speak English, Spanish and Creole will be available for residents with inquiries about the rent assistance program.

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