New York continues to struggle in doling out rent relief, with the first payments still at least several weeks away.
The state has a $2.4 billion rent relief fund, provided by Congress. Its system has been plagued by technical issues, however, leaving it as one of just four states to fail to distribute a single dollar from the fund, according to the Associated Press.
The Cuomo administration says around 1.1 million renter households have been affected by the pandemic. Tenants and landlords can apply for assistance through an online portal, but four to six weeks are needed for applications to be processed. More than 100,000 applications were filed in the first two weeks after the portal went live June 1.
But technical glitches have made it challenging for tenants and landlords alike to complete applications. Website bugs that have erased entire applications or made it impossible to upload essential documents.
Advocates are asking for a paper application option to be added for low-income applicants. Additionally, more resources are being requested to locate tenants and to force landlords to submit applications as needed. Landlords have also complained of tenants not cooperating with them, as is needed to apply.
Lawmakers are demanding action and scheduling hearings in response to the state’s slow rollout.
Applications for assistance are expected to increase next month, as the state’s eviction moratorium is scheduled to end Aug. 31.[AP] — Holden Walter-Warner