Suffolk County has designated OLA of Eastern Long Island to help East End residents gain access to rental and utilities assistance through New York State’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
The relief is available to low- and moderate-income households at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability and includes help for paying back rent, future rent and overdue utility bills.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program also includes a method for the landlord to apply directly. Either way, payments will be sent directly to landlords.
“Immigrant community members, especially if they are undocumented, can be extremely vulnerable to exploitation by landlords,” said Sandra Dunn, the associate director of OLA, in a statement. “The pandemic has created further insecurity, with landlords threatening to evict tenants, in some cases even when tenants have been paying their rent. The pandemic is also prompting landlords to sell the properties that they have always been renting out. For our longtime local residents this means the place where they’ve lived for over a decade in some cases is suddenly no longer available. We are looking at an acute housing shortage as a result of the pandemic and want to do everything possible so that people will not be out on the street and homeless. We strongly encourage tenants and landlords alike to participate in ERAP. If landlords don’t participate, they won’t be able to get the back rent they are due from the state.”
The state will distribute up to $2.7 billion through the program. Qualifying households may seek financial assistance for 12 months of past-due rent and three months of future rent, plus 12 months of outstanding utility payments.
The application window opened June 1, and during the first 30 days, the program will prioritize the unemployed, those with income at or below 50 percent of area median income and other vulnerable populations. After the first 30 days, applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, as long as funds remain available.
Visit otda.ny.gov/erap for more information on the program. For help applying, go to olaofeasternlongisland.org and visit “Eviction and Rent Support” under the COVID-19 tab.
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