ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that $3.5 billion in pandemic relief has been earmarked for rental assistance and support for small businesses.

“New Yorkers and small businesses in every corner of the State were devastated by the pandemic,” Cuomo said in a written statement. “This critical funding will help ensure New Yorkers who are experiencing financial hardship through no fault of their own will not be thrown onto the streets, while also providing stability for small businesses so they can help play a role in New York’s economic resurgence.”

Rental assistance program

Cuomo’s office says applications for the $2.7 billion in rental assistance will open on June 1 to eligible New Yorkers behind on their rent and under pandemic-induced financial hardship. They expect the program to help up to 200,000 households.

The program is for households behind on their rent or at risk of homelessness or housing instability, and earning 80% or less of the local median income. It will prioritize vulnerable populations for its first 30 days, like the unemployed or those making 50% or less of that median income. After July 1, applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis until funds run out.

Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), the program will supply as much as 1 year of past-due rent and 1 year of payments for utility debts. Households spending 30% or more of income on rent can also receive up to three months of rental assistance.

Small business recovery program

Applications for the $800 million small business recovery grant program will open on June 10 to small and micro businesses, and for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations. Cuomo’s office estimates that over 330,000 companies are eligible statewide, including 57% of New Yorks’s certified minority- and women-owned businesses.

Those approved for the flexible grants will receive between $5,000 and $50,000, calculated based on the business’s annual gross receipts for 2019. Reimbursable COVID-related expenses must be from between March 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021 and can include:

  • Payroll
  • Commercial rents or mortgages for New York properties
  • Local property or school taxes 
  • Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Personal protection equipment
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
  • Other machinery, equipment, or supplies necessary for COVID safety