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Politics Schumer demands New York state disburse more than $2 billion in relief earmarked for struggling tenants

01:15  26 july  2021
01:15  26 july  2021 Source:   nydailynews.com

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More than one million New York households are at immediate risk of eviction when the moratorium expires on May 1, and 1.1 million households have “slight or no confidence” that they can pay April’s rent. Unfortunately, relief is unlikely to be available to renters in April. Albany is still talking about setting up a program to disperse the more than billion in federal rent relief appropriated in December, despite the fact that program terms have already been established by the Treasury Department. While we can and should make changes to ensure that rental assistance maximizes housing stability and

According to a new survey from the Community Housing Improvement Program, tenants in rent-stabilized apartments are more than billion behind on rent. The figure represents about 185,000 households that owe more than two months’ rent — an average of ,000. The latest federal relief package includes .3 billion in rental assistance for the entire state . The incoming Biden administration has said it will pursue another stimulus package. Landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants until May under the state ’s eviction moratorium.

New York state must stop dragging its heels and release more than $2 billion in federal funding meant to help desperate renters pay their bills, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Sunday.

Only a “pittance” of the cash available through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program established by Congress has been doled out, and the end of the state’s eviction moratorium looms at the end of August, the New York Democrat said.

“We want tenant relief now, and we cannot wait any longer. Tenants need help,” Schumer said at a news conference. “This is very, very serious.”

Under the program, Congress provided New York state with $2.3 billion for struggling New Yorkers to pay their rent.

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  On The Money: Schumer pressured from all sides on spending strategy | GOP hammers HUD chief over sluggish rental aid | Democrat proposes taxes on commercial space flights Happy Tuesday and welcome back to On The Money, the first financial newsletter composed in space. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.See something I missed? Let me know at slane@thehill.com or tweet me @SylvanLane. And if you like your newsletter, you can subscribe to it here: http://bit.ly/1NxxW2N.Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.com and njagoda@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane and @NJagoda.THE BIG DEAL-Schumer feels pressure from all sides on spending strategy: Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.

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Tenants of the building at 95-36 42nd Avenue in the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Corona in Queens received a notice last week demanding each leaseholder appear at the building’s management office with photo ID, Social Security card, “proof of your status in US State Senator Jose Peralta said a constituent contacted him to complain about the notice and that he planned to file a complaint with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office on Monday. He said it represented a violation of the New York City Human Rights Law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of immigration status.

Many still owe months of back rent because the moratorium, while helping keep a roof over tenants’ heads, did not cancel or forgive overdue or back rent.

“When a tenant gets kicked out of their home, they have to start right all over,” Schumer said. “This affected poor people, this affected working people, this affected the middle class.”

Chuck Schumer et al. standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer of New York leaves a lunch meeting with fellow Senate Democrats and Biden administration representatives at the U.S. Capitol on July 22, 2021 in Washington. © Chip Somodevilla Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer of New York leaves a lunch meeting with fellow Senate Democrats and Biden administration representatives at the U.S. Capitol on July 22, 2021 in Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer of New York leaves a lunch meeting with fellow Senate Democrats and Biden administration representatives at the U.S. Capitol on July 22, 2021 in Washington. (Chip Somodevilla/)

The application process for rent relief launched in June, but it has been plagued with technical problems ever since.

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More than a year later, the country’s housing market is volcanic, thanks largely to ultra-low mortgage rates. But while homeowners have seen the value of their houses surge, people who rent have not been so fortunate. Because so many of them work in industries clobbered by the pandemic, like hospitality and retail, many renters haven’t been able to earn a steady income in over a year. Millions are behind on their rent. If that describes your situation, don’t panic. Help is out there — from billions in federal COVID stimulus money that's now available to help renters.

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Just $120,000 had been given out out as of last week, the Daily News reported.

The state’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, which is in charge of the program, said the glitches have been solved and money is on the way.

“Test payments were made [last] Monday, and we are now ready to safely and efficiently deliver billions of dollars in rental assistance,” a state spokesman previously told the News.

But that wasn’t good enough for Schumer.

“Unfortunately, New York state has not gotten the money out,” he said. “The money’s delivered. We say to New York state: ‘Instead of getting the money to tenants, it just sat in your pockets.’”

He promised to send a letter to the state office, laying out his demands.

“I never heard of that office, but they sure left a lot of people up the creek without a paddle,” Schumer said.

Advocates agreed.

“Since the program opened, our clients are experiencing a challenging application process, glitchy website and opaque rules and procedures and almost no money has been paid out,” said Judith Goldiner of the Legal Aid Society.

More than 160,000 New Yorkers are struggling with the frustrating process of getting rent relief.

“If this thing doesn’t work out, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Fernando Livingston, a former security guard living on food stamps and workers’ compensation benefits, told the News.

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