Priority applicants finding trouble applying to rent aid site


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Tenants applying for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which will pay up to 12 months in back rent due to pandemic hardships, are running into issues with the state’s website. For some, time is of the essence.

“We’re not so much concerned about the money running out, but there is a priority for applications,” said Symone Wango of the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York. 

Renters who had trouble paying their rent throughout the pandemic will get a windfall from the state, directly paying the landlord back rent.  

Wango said the tenants she’s helping are encountering technical problems with the site including error messages.

Time is ticking for priority applicants. Applications opened June 1 and priority slots only last for the first 30 days.  

“To have that constant stress over their head to not be able to pay their rent, not knowing if they’re going to get thrown out into the streets, has been a real point of stress for families,” Wango said.

That could be a reality as the latest deadline for the state’s eviction moratorium is slated for the end of August. Some priority qualifications include: people who make under 50 percent of the counties median income or those who have been unemployed at least 90 days.  

“We’ll get a payment maybe in July and tell them you can’t evict them for another 12 months because you accepted payment? That doesn’t make any sense at all,” said Landlord William Sheldon.  

The benefits of the program will not only pay 12 months overdue rent, but a possible three more months. Landlords who accept the payment agree to not evict their tenants for one year. That’s put Sheldon in a tricky situation because he wants to sell his house.  

“I’m just overwhelmed overall and I just want to move on,” Sheldon said.  

“For landlords, I understand the economic impact that Covid has had, but there’s also an economic impact for families as well,” Wango said. 

To apply for the program, click here.

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