Assembly to Hold Hearing on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Speaker Carl Heastie, Ways and Means Committee Chair Helene E. Weinstein, Housing Committee Chair Steven Cymbrowitz and Social Services Committee Chair Linda B. Rosenthal today announced the Assembly will hold a hearing on Tuesday, August 10, 2021 to examine the application process and implementation of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). The ERAP application opened on June 1, 2021, to aid eligible renters with rental arears, utility and home energy costs or arears, and future rent.

“My colleagues and I in the Assembly Majority have fought to ensure that New Yorkers are protected from eviction and have the relief they need during this pandemic and economic crisis,” said Speaker Heastie. “This hearing will allow us to evaluate the application and implementation of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to help New Yorkers get the relief they need in an efficient manner.”

“The Assembly Majority worked tirelessly during budget negotiations earlier this year to ensure that the $2.6 billion in federal funding for Emergency Rental Assistance Program relief gets to those who need it most quickly and efficiently,” said Assemblymember Weinstein. “This hearing will help us ensure that the processes we are using allow us to meet that goal.”

“Millions of New Yorkers lost their income and fell behind on rent during the course of this devastating crisis, and many small landlords who depend on rental income found themselves unable to pay their mortgage and meet monthly expenses,” said Assemblymember Cymbrowitz. “These New Yorkers are counting on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to deliver them the much-needed relief that was promised by the state using federal funds. This hearing will give us the opportunity to evaluate the process for delivering that relief.”

“With more than $1 billion in unpaid rent owed statewide, we are in the throes of a crisis. Yet, New York is one of only four states that have inexplicably not distributed any of the $2-plus billion in rental assistance,” said Assemblymember Rosenthal. “We in the Legislature worked closely with our counterparts on the federal level to secure this funding and with advocates to design a program that delivers aid to New Yorkers and small landlords who need it most. Landlord and tenant applicants, along with community-based organizations, have all described the portal as unnecessarily complex and buggy and have expressed grave concern about the fate of the program and of the millions of people who are relying on the forthcoming relief. I am gratified that the New York State Assembly will be holding a hearing on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program because we have a responsibility to avert the looming crisis and ensure that New Yorkers get access to desperately needed rental relief.”

New York received $2.6 billion in federal funding for ERAP through the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act to assist households who have been unable to pay residential rent due to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hearing will specifically evaluate how quickly assistance is being distributed to individuals, as well how easily the application has been to access and submit. The hearing will stream live on the Assembly website.