By MARINA VILLENEUVE
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday she’s asking for $1.6 billion in federal funding to settle unpaid rent owed by tenants amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
New York has sent to landlords $1.3 billion of $2.4 billion in federal rent relief aid, according to the latest data from the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. The state’s spent about $300 million on administration, outreach and legal assistance.
The state doesn’t release data on how many individual landlords that has helped, though the state’s website says New York’s issued over 108,000 payments to landlords.
Hochul said an extra $1.6 billion would cover about 174,000 applications for landlords who have not received rent relief yet.
“Our appeal to the Treasury to reexamine its reallocation formula to prioritize high-tenant states like New York represents the latest in our continued and vigorous advocacy for those still reeling from the financial impact of the pandemic,” Hochul said.
Meanwhile, New York hasn’t released about $661 million in funds for nearly 53,000 applicants because of ongoing bureaucratic issues and landlords refusing to accept aid.
It’s unclear whether New York will receive the entire amount of federal aid requested.
Congress initially approved $46.5 billion in rent-relief nationwide. The U.S. Treasury estimates states spent about $25 to $30 billion of those funds by the end of 2021. The federal government is now working on sending out unspent aid to states in need.
The Treasury has sent out about $1.1 billion in re-allocated rent relief to states so far. But New York has received just $27 million: enough for fewer than 2,000 applications.
Hochul had requested nearly $1 billion in extra relief in November.
The Treasury says it will start another round of reallocations March 31. Treasury officials are urging states to help tenants and landlords by tapping into what remains of $350 billion in COVID-19 relief passed in 2020.
New York’s eviction and foreclosure moratorium expired Jan. 15, which ended some eviction protections for tenants.
Tenant advocates warn that the state will see a slow but troubling increase in homelessness as backlogged housing courts weigh eviction cases.
Meanwhile, some eviction protections still exist: Anyone who applies for rental aid in New York is protected from eviction while the state reviews their application. And New Yorkers with approved applications can’t get evicted for one year for having failed to pay rent.
About 166,000 households have been protected from eviction, according to Hochul.