November 20, 2023
Video available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stVUEpYiWgs
Follows Significant Advocacy From Adams Administration and NYCHA Residents As 73,000 Households Face $533 Million in Rent Arrears
New York – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) has provided an initial $95 million in financial relief for New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents. The $95 million — now beginning to register in residents' accounts with NYCHA — is part of the more than $350 million investment in public housing and Section 8 that was advocated for and supported by the Adams administration, NYCHA, and residents and secured by Governor Hochul and the state legislature in the Fiscal Year 2024 Enacted Budget.
"I grew up on the verge of homelessness, so I know how important affordable housing is to New Yorkers. When COVID first put our economy in free fall, and businesses were shutting down and laying people off, NYCHA residents were effectively excluded from emergency rental assistance available to other New Yorkers. For months, our administration partnered with residents and elected officials to advocate for the support they needed, and I'm proud that we are delivering for them today," said Mayor Adams. "Our teams sat down and built a process that will get struggling families up to a full year of financial relief — and we have already submitted $128 million worth of applications on behalf of 33,000 New York City households. I want to thank Governor Hochul, our partners in the Senate and Assembly, and everyone in our administration who figured out how to get this done and fast-track it so that we can get support to those who need it as quickly as possible. The investments we are making today through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program are not just the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do because investing in New Yorkers today will pay dividends tomorrow."
"Tenants who live in public or subsidized housing deserve safe, livable, and affordable homes," said Governor Hochul. "This major investment in public housing has already helped 15,000 households stay in their homes, and I'm committed to working with NYCHA to ensure every eligible tenant gets the support they need."
"Today marks a significant milestone as New York City and the state come together in support of NYCHA residents," said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. "This crucial distribution of funds demonstrates our collective commitment to ensuring that every New Yorker receives the assistance they need. These funds will provide immediate relief to NYCHA households and strengthen NYCHA's ability to provide services to residents."
"NYCHA again expresses its gratitude to everyone who made this important rent relief possible, including Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, New York State Legislature housing chairs Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, in addition to Mayor Eric Adams and our city partners, who provided steadfast support, and, of course, the residents themselves, who fiercely advocated for this emergency funding," said NYCHA CEO Bova-Hiatt. "In securing these funds and ensuring program equity for public housing and subsidized tenants, New York state has demonstrated true leadership — and we are thrilled to see this aid be applied to resident accounts."
"OTDA is grateful to Governor Hochul and the legislature for providing the necessary funding to ensure that ERAP could assist NYCHA residents and other tenants of subsidized housing who suffered negative economic consequences of the pandemic and fell behind on their rent," said New York State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance (OTDA) Acting Commissioner Barbara C. Guinn. "The governor has championed this program from the start of her tenure, and New York was quickly recognized as a national leader in delivering this rental assistance with over 275,000 payments to help New Yorkers remain stably housed."
The critical support for ERAP arrives for NYCHA residents following years of advocacy by residents and elected officials — including New York State Senator Brian Kavanagh and New York State Assemblymember Grace Lee — and city-state collaboration to ensure that residents of public and other subsidized housing could benefit from COVID-19-related rental assistance like other New Yorkers impacted by the pandemic. Mayor Adams made rental assistance funding for NYCHA residents a key city priority in the state budget process, and, earlier this year, NYCHA, elected officials, housing advocates, and public housing authorities from across New York state joined residents for a rally in Albany to advocate for this emergency funding in the state budget. Currently, 73,000 NYCHA households are behind on rent by a total of $533 million across the city's public housing.
Receipt of these ERAP payments strengthens NYCHA's ability to provide critical services to residents, as rent payments are critical to NYCHA's operations — funding one-third of NYCHA's operating budget. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) expects public housing authorities to collect 100 percent of rent with no increase in operating subsidy to bridge funding gaps and does not allow public housing authorities to forgive rent on behalf of residents. In recent years, NYCHA has seen rent arrears more than quadruple, with the pandemic having a particularly glaring impact. Receiving ERAP funding is, therefore, not only important for residents but also for NYCHA's continued progress in addressing its obligations as outlined in the 2019 HUD Agreement, as well as in advancing its Transformation Plan.
Governor Hochul and the legislature secured over $1.15 billion to supplement federal ERAP funding in the Fiscal Year 2023 and 2024 Enacted Budgets, including $391 million towards rental arrears assistance — with $350 million of that amount supporting New York state's ERAP for public and subsidized housing residents, including NYCHA, and $35 million specifically to pay NYCHA tenant arrears in addition to the ERAP funding.
The state legislation authorizing ERAP required that tenants of subsidized housing could not be paid until all other applications had been considered. The FY24 State Budget specified that the more than $350 million in additional state funding is for applications, including those from tenants of public housing and other publicly-subsidized housing. Receipt of these state ERAP payments positively impacts NYCHA's ability to provide critical services to residents.
In an effort to connect as many households as possible to ERAP funds, OTDA partnered with NYCHA to establish a process that provided up to 12 months of financial relief to households that accumulated rent arrears at the height of the pandemic.
"As the proud representative for 13 NYCHA developments across Lower Manhattan, I saw firsthand how public and subsidized housing residents suffered disproportionately during the pandemic. The financial challenges they faced were immense, and I personally know many residents who had to make the unthinkable decision between paying their rent or burying their loved ones, putting food on the table for their families, or paying medical bills," said New York State Assemblymember Grace Lee. "Despite needing the most support, public and subsidized housing residents were deprioritized for emergency rent relief and denied access to the resources all other New Yorkers were given. The $391 million we secured to fund ERAP in this year's state budget is life-changing relief for these residents and will allow thousands of families across New York state to stay in their homes. I thank the residents, my colleagues in the Legislature, and Governor Hochul for fighting for this cause, and I look forward to continuing our work to provide safe, affordable, dignified housing to all New Yorkers."
"The New York State Public Housing Authorities Directors Association is very grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul, Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Andrew Stewart-Cousins, and all of our partners in the state legislature for setting aside $391 million ERAP funding in this year's State Budget," said William Simmons, executive director, Syracuse Housing Authority and president, New York State Public Housing Authority Directors Association. "For three years, public housing authorities and our tenants have suffered financially from the pandemic, and this funding will finally relieve the debt hanging over our heads. Public housing authorities were initially last on the list of ERAP eligibility, and thanks to Governor Hochul and our legislative leaders, we are addressing this crisis."