New York Asks U.S. Treasury for More Aid for Renters
(Bloomberg) -- New York Governor Kathy Hochul asked the U.S. Treasury Department for more money to provide relief to tenants, saying the state expects to run through its federal aid next month.
The state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program has received over 205,000 applications since June and expects to have fully obligated its federal aid by early October, according to the letter dated Sept. 21. The state received about $2 billion in such aid and its program, which is meant to help low and moderate-income households, is still seeing more than 9,000 applications per week, the letter addressed to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.
New York’s request for more aid comes as some states and local governments are at risk of having their aid taken away by the federal government as a result of being slow to commit the aid. California, for example, could lose $337 million of federal funds if it doesn’t obligate more money by the end of the month, the state auditor said last week.
The way Congress allocated the rental assistance dollars gave an outsize share to smaller states with low renter populations.
Reallocation of Funds
New York’s portion of the funds, for instance, was expected to be about 1.3 times the amount of delinquent rent as of August, according to estimates from Moody’s Analytics. Vermont, however, got a roughly $350 million allocation, enough to pay for renters’ needs more than 30 times over, according to the analysis.
To help fix any mismatch, Congress provided the Treasury Department with authority to reallocate funds and send additional money to states with high need.
New York had been slow to distribute federal rental assistance funds under the previous administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo. New York’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program had “implementation challenges” as applications climbed, according to an August report from the state comptroller’s office.
Hochul, who took over as governor in August after Cuomo resigned, has made the release of funds a priority and said the state “failed in its responsibility” to distribute the funds.
This week’s letter said New York has made “rapid progress” with its Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which has helped 120,000 New Yorkers who were unable to pay rent.
“Since New York has already fully obligated its first round of emergency rental assistance and will very shortly obligate all of its second round of emergency rental assistance funding, the state has established a demonstrable need and is eligible to receive additional funds,” the letter said.
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