Hochul asks for more rent funding, landlords running into obstacles

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Governor Kathy Hochul has asked for more federal funds to help tenants and landlords financially impacted by the pandemic because money is quickly running out.

Landlords like Debbie Pusatere, who are owed back rent from tenants, are financially beginning to get payments from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).

“It’s great. It’s helping the tenants. It’s helping us,” Pusatere said.  

With funds quickly running out and an extended eviction moratorium, Pusatere said she’s concerned she may find herself in the same position come January because renters are still out of work and unemployment benefits have run out.  

“Let’s take the next step. Let’s not stop at third base. Let’s get a home run,” Pusatere said.  

$1.6 billion of the $2.7 billion in funds from ERAP are in the process or have already been paid out.  

“The fact that New York State has gone from being at the back of the pack to the front of the pack, kicking this money out the door, it’s really a positive sign,” said Assemblyman John McDonald.  

McDonald said the state running out of emergency funds is a good thing because it shows the federal government the need of the state and the ability to quickly get it into the hands of landlords.

“Yes, there’s probably a concern that does this mean my opportunity is gone? And the reality is that, Hey, New York is, we’re getting it done,” McDonald said.  

But for landlords like Pusatere, there’s an even larger problem looming that still leaves her in debt.  

“The majority of my money that I’ve lost is tenants who’ve never applied that just up and left,” Pusatere said.  

Starting October 1, landlords can apply for a piece of $250 million set aside to help people in a situation like Pusatere’s. She’s only been able to get $12,000 in rent so far. She’s still owed $160,000 from her renters.  

“A lot of us have a huge tax bill due in two weeks. I can’t cover that yet,” Pusatere said.

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