The COVID Rent Relief Program has reopened for application with expanded eligibility criteria in an effort to serve New Yorkers who may have not had the opportunity to initially apply and to serve those who may have been previously ineligible due to the program’s restrictive criteria set by the Legislature.
The application period will remain open through February 1, 2021. Previous
applicants do not need to reapply to be considered. HCR will re-evaluate all applications that were denied according to the new criteria and issue revised determination letters to applicants.
The Program’s eligibility has been changed to no longer require households to have been considered “rent burdened” prior to the pandemic in order to qualify. Rent burden is defined as paying more than 30 percent of monthly gross income towards rent.
To qualify for this one-time subsidy, low-income renters impacted by the pandemic must meet all of the following criteria:
• Must be a renter and have a primary residence in New York State;
• Applicants must have lost income during the period of April 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020;
• Before March 7, 2020, household income must have been at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income, adjusted for household size; and
• Households must be “rent burdened” during the months they are applying for assistance between April 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020.
For the purposes of assessing applicant income, cash benefits and unemployment benefits are both included in the calculation.
The subsidy for eligible applicants will be calculated as: the difference between the household’s rent burden on March 1, 2020 and the household’s rent burden during the months of April, May, June and July of 2020. For applicants who were not considered rent burdened on March 1, 2020, the subsidy will be calculated to bring them to the 30 percent rent burden threshold.
The Program’s online application is available in both English and Spanish. And will soon be available in six foreign languages – Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Haitian-Creole, Korean, and Bengali. We are working with local Not-For-Profit organizations to ensure New Yorkers receive the assistance they need to apply.
Throughout the application period, residents who need help or have questions about their application can contact HCR’s COVID Rent Relief Program Call Center for assistance at 1-833-499-0318 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Call Center representatives are available Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.
HCR will also allow applicants who are unable or uncomfortable applying online to do so over the phone rather than by mail. More information on this assistance and expanded language support on the hotline will be available on HCR’s website in the coming days.