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Hochul requesting more federal rental assistance funds, as NY's $2B pot is almost gone

A "For Rent" sign on a brick wall
New York NOW

New York’s more than $2 billion rental assistance program is nearly gone. In Western New York, new applications only in Erie and Niagara counties are likely to be funded.

However, Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state will reapply for more funding from the federal government, as the U.S. Treasury opened applications for additional funds this week.

In a letter sent to federal emergency rental assistance grantees, the deputy treasury secretary said the department has planned to reallocate leftover funding from states and cities that have not spent all what was initially delivered to them.

While visiting Broome County earlier this week, Hochul said she was hopeful New York would benefit.

“They set it up that if there’s any states that haven’t used all their allocation, that we can apply for it. We applied for it, and we’re hoping to get some good news on that front as well,” Hochul said. “A lot of people are still hurting.”

Hochul sent U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen a letter last month requesting more money on behalf of renters. She said she’ll formally follow-up as soon as possible.

“We’re hopeful to get another $500 million,” Hochul told reporters in Johnson City on Monday.

State and local governments that already spent at least 65% of their federal emergency rental assistance funds and can demonstrate a need for more can apply.

As of Oct. 26, New York had committed $1.8 billion of its Emergency Rental Assistance Program. However, much of that has yet to be paid to landlords on behalf of renters.

Just under one-third of applications statewide have been approved as of last week, but many still need landlords to sign-off in order to be paid.

In a statement Tuesday, Hochul said $913 million in emergency rental assistance has been delivered to New Yorkers so far.

“On day one, I pledged to get federal rental relief money out the door and into the hands of New Yorkers,” Hochul said. “Since then, we have broken the bureaucratic logjam and quadrupled the amount of pandemic relief distributed.”

In the City of Buffalo, the state says it has paid 2,193 applications totaling nearly $14.4 million through Oct. 26. The average amount paid was $6558. In Erie County outside Buffalo, the state has paid 1,060 applications totaling more than $6.9 million, with an average amount about $6,537. In Niagara County, there have been 720 applications paid totaling more than $6.3 million, with an average amount about $5,200.

WBFO's Marian Hetherly contributed to this story.