New York's Rent Relief Program Falls Short for Struggling Tenants

Between two rounds of funding, the city of New York has only awarded $7 million of a total $60 million intended for tenant relief.

March 30, 2021, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Central Park Aerial

T photography / Shutterstock

"Nearly eight weeks after the February 1st deadline, New York has paid out just $7 million out of $60 million available for struggling tenants," writes Katherine Fung in Gothamist. This is according to figures from State Assemblymember Zohran Kwame Mamdani. The state estimates that "between 800,000 to 1.2 million households in New York collectively owe more than $2 billion in rent," yet between its two rounds, the state's rent relief program "awarded $47 million in subsidies to 16,000 households, or roughly 16% of the total applications received since September." 

Many applicants were disqualified because they received federal and state unemployment benefits during part of 2020—payments which expired last July. "At the point at which people really needed help with rent, the program closed its doors," Legal Aid Society attorney Ellen Davidson told Fung.

State Senator Brian Kavanagh, chair of the chamber’s Housing Committee, and other lawmakers "have since proposed a new program that would help tenants pay up to 12 months of rental arrears and utility bills." Kavanagh says the proposal is "ambitious enough and is generous enough that we really think we can pay virtually all of the rent arrears that have built up in the entire state."

Community organizers like Cea Weaver with Housing Justice for All caution that "while funding for the new program appears sufficient, its effectiveness will also depend on whether the state simplifies the application process and conducts adequate outreach to tenants, especially in non-English speaking communities."

Tuesday, March 23, 2021 in Gothamist

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

University of Arizona

Proposed Transit Line Would Connect Downtown Tucson to Airport

Based on community input for a 15-mile transit line, residents want to see a focus on affordable housing development and anti-displacement measures.

May 22 - KGUN

Shuttered strip mall in Niland, California

Strip Malls as a Housing Solution

The American strip mall may be a dying breed of commercial development, but could the buildings serve a new use as sustainable housing?

May 22 - Yale Environment 360

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

May 20 - Vancouver Sun

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.