Despite government promises to improve New York State’s dismally slow rent relief program, tenant and landlord groups alike complain little has been done to get money out — even as a seemingly final eviction moratorium end date looms.

“It’s really mind-boggling,” Rent Stabilization Association President Joseph Strasburg said. “There’s incredible frustration on the part of both owners and tenants, and we don’t quite understand what the heck is going on.”

Of the state’s $2.7B Emergency Rental Assistance Program, $138M, or just over 5%, has been paid out as of Wednesday, according to the state’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, which runs the program.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, just a few days before he announced his resignation, declared a new application process would be implemented, which would relax the heavily criticized documentation standards for tenants and landlords seeking funds. He said there would be 1,000 people working on the program. But there appears to be little progress made, Citizens Housing Planning Council Executive Director Jessica Katz said.

“It can’t get any worse, and we definitely have not heard a lot about it getting better, the rollout has been a failure. There’s no way around that,” Katz said. “Once there’s money into renters’ hands, we should take a really close look at how this happened.”

Miriam Hall for Bisnow New York City
August 18, 2021