Assembly Budget Includes Critical Funding for Social Services, Housing and a Rent Relief Program for Those Impacted by COVID-19

Plan Includes $3.125 Billion in Rental Relief for Those Impacted by COVID-19

Plan Includes $2.1 Billion for New Yorkers without Access to Unemployment, Federal Stimulus Funds and Other Assistance Programs During Pandemic

Speaker Carl Heastie today announced that the Assembly State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2021-22 Budget makes investments in critical social service programs and public housing, as well as providing a rent relief program for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Assembly Majority is committed to ensuring New Yorkers have access to safe, affordable housing and the social services they need,” Speaker Heastie said. “Our budget makes critical investments in social services and builds on the rent relief programs we passed in December and last spring. We will continue to fight to keep our friends and neighbors in their homes.”

“So many New Yorkers in the last year have faced illness, loss of loved ones, loss of income, food insecurity and other issues associated with the pandemic,” Housing Committee Chair Steven Cymbrowitz said. “I am proud of the work we did over the last year helping renters avoid eviction and assisting small landlords in continuing to pay their monthly expenses amid unprecedented challenges. This proposal will continue and build on our work to assist tenants and property owners, while making critical investments in public housing.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in our communities, with people from every corner of the state experiencing unprecedented need,” said Social Services Committee Chair Linda B. Rosenthal. “The Assembly one-house budget proposal reflects a historic commitment to provide vital and lifesaving services to those who need it most. While the suffering in our communities is deep, the Assembly Majority will continue working to ensure a reliable social safety net for all New Yorkers, which includes more robust funding for housing, hunger and homelessness and more.”

The Assembly budget would provide $935 million in capital funding to housing authorities across New York State, including $750 million for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The proposal also includes $100 million for state- and city-supervised Mitchell Lama Housing.

Rent Relief

In total, $3.125 billion in combined federal and state dollars will be provided for rent relief, including:

  • $400 million for prospective rent;
  • $200 million to reduce homelessness; and
  • $100 million to supplement $575 million in federal mortgage relief in the most recent federal stimulus for a total of $675 million for mortgage relief.

Under the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, New York received $1.3 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance to aid eligible renters with rental arrears, utility and home energy costs or arrears, future rent and other housing expenses. The Assembly spending plan includes a proposal to get this rent relief funding to New Yorkers most in need quickly and efficiently.

Those eligible under federal guidelines include individuals who have qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19 and have a household income below 80 percent of the American mean income (AMI). Those guidelines require prioritization of those with income under 50 percent AMI and those who have been unemployed for 90 days prior to applying.

Under the Assembly’s spending plan, renters who were impacted disproportionately by the COVID-19 pandemic will be prioritized. This would include renters at or below 50 percent of AMI living in buildings owned by small landlords, vulnerable populations such as victims of domestic violence and veterans, renters from communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and those involved in eviction proceedings. Both landlords and tenants would be eligible to apply, but tenants would be required to give consent before a payment could be issued on their behalf. Benefits would include up to 12 months of rental and utility arrears, with the potential for an additional three months of prospective rental assistance to ensure housing stability, as well as funding to pay for internet access. Funding would be allocated equitably across the state based on residents’ rental and arrear needs as determined by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).

In order to receive the funding, landlords would be required to agree not to evict due to an expired lease or holdover tenancy for one year, to waive late fees for arrears and not to raise rent for a year. Landlords with major, open violations would be required to resolve those violations to receive funding. Tenants would receive proof that rent was paid on their behalf.

The state would open a 21 day application process for renters to apply. As soon as one 21 day window closes, another would open to allow the state to continuously receive applications and ensure equitable access for those who may not have the ability to apply online. The application would be available, at a minimum, in English, Yiddish, Bengali, Arabic and the six most common non-English languages spoken in New York, which include Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Italian and French Creole. New York State would also create and implement a statewide outreach campaign focusing on small landlords, communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, veterans, domestic violence victims and individuals with pending eviction cases.

Included in the Assembly’s spending plan is an additional $200 million to provide assistance statewide to help individuals experiencing homelessness get off the streets and back into their homes. Supplements would be provided to individuals in amount up to 100 percent of the Fair Market Rent (FMR) and equitably distributed across the state based on local social services districts with high levels of homelessness. 

Additionally the Assembly would provide $100 million carve out in rental assistance for distressed landlords whose tenants failed to pay rent, or otherwise did not qualify under the parameters of our program, as well as $20 million to the Homeowner Protection Program to provide legal assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure.

Social Services

The Assembly’s spending plan proposes $2.1 billion to create a fund for New Yorkers who do not have access to unemployment, federal stimulus funds and other assistance programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding plan includes $100 million to support operating costs for nonprofit organization.It also provides Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding for legislative initiatives eliminated from the Executive Budget, which includes:

  • $8.5 million for Facilitated Enrollment;
  • $5 million in additional funding for Advantage Afterschool;
  • $4 million for ATTAIN;
  • $2.85 million for Career Pathways;
  • $1.57 million for Preventive Services;
  • $800,000 for ACCESS;
  • $475,000 for the Wage Subsidy Program;
  • $334,000 for SUNY/CUNY childcare;
  • $200,000 for the Jewish Child Care Association of New York;
  • $144,000 for Wheels for Work;
  • $82,000 for Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority; and
  • $25,000 for Centro of Oneida.

The Assembly budget also includes $3 million in additional funding for Non-Residential Domestic Violence, bringing it to a total of $6 million.

Additional restorations include:

  • $15 million for the New York City Rental Assistance Program and $5 million for the Rent Cap Pilot Program for the rest of the state;
  • Five percent local assistance withholdings for a total of $4.4 million for the Adult Shelter Reimbursement, Code Blue, Public Homes, the HIV/AIDS Welfare to Work Program and the Public Assistance Initiative for Formerly Incarcerated;
  • $3 million for refugee resettlement; and
  • $1.5 million for the Disability Advocacy Program.