Picente: COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Funding Ready for Distribution
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. announced today that COVID-19 emergency rental assistance funding is now ready to be distributed through New York State’s online application portal.
“The carnage the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed within our rental community has brought ire to renters and landlords alike,” Picente said. “Our offices have been inundated with calls and emails from tenants struggling to pay their rent and landlords looking for reimbursement for months of lost income. I am pleased that this federal funding is finally available to those who so desperately need it. Oneida County will do all it can to help our residents find relief as they navigate the state’s distribution process.”
The U.S. Department of the Treasury established an Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) in January, under which New York State, and counties and cities with populations of at least 200,000, were eligible upon application to request funding. Oneida County applied and was awarded $6,782,715.10. The county is now working in partnership with the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) to disperse the funding.
OTDA has established an online application process which went live on June 1st. It can be accessed at https://nysrenthelp.otda.ny.gov. The site also provides programmatic information on eligibility and application process. Property owners or tenants may apply directly on the site, but it is required that both participate in the process. A state helpline is also available to provide assistance with application and eligibility questions at 1-844-691-7368.
Oneida County has a contract with Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency (MVCAA) to provide local assistance should there be difficulty completing the application process. The number to reach MVCAA is 315-624-9930. In addition, Oneida County has established an email address at RentalAssistance@ocgov.net and helpline at 315-798-5439 to answer questions and provide direction.
“There are multiple avenues available for tenants and landlords to receive help through this process,” said Colleen Fahy-Box, Commissioner of the Oneida County Department of Family and Community Services. “The county and its partners encourage those who have questions or need assistance to reach out to the identified resources so as many people as possible receive the benefit of this opportunity.”
Applications are being accepted for all renters who fit the criteria of being at or below 80% of the area median income and meet other identified eligibility factors. The payments go directly to the property owner.
The ERAP will provide a supplement for rental and/or utility arrears. It will make payments to landlords, with specific stipulations the landlords must follow (i.e. provide the tenant with documentation, obtain the tenant’s signature, retain confidentiality of tenant’s information).
Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of rental and/or utility assistance. Arrears must be paid first before prospective rent can be paid. Three months of prospective rent can be covered if the tenant is deemed eligible.