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LAS Demands Amended Rent Relief Programs to Benefit More New Yorkers

The Legal Aid Society today called on New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature to amend statewide rent relief programs to benefit New York tenants who are suffering financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Gothamist.

An analysis by Legal Aid found that other states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, and Washington State, amended their respective rent relief programs earlier this year to maximize the number of needy families eligible for relief. New York State has distributed only $40 million out of $100 million rent relief funds to New Yorkers — only 15,020 out of 94,000 people who sought relief were approved, according to Curbed. New York State now runs the risk of losing the remaining available funds to the federal government if it does not distribute them by December 30, 2020 – a potential loss of crucial funds for tenants in desperate need of financial relief.

“[The] program was really set up to make it very difficult for any tenant to qualify. It never made sense to me other than creating all sorts of obstacles for people who are in crisis to get help,” said Ellen Davidson, Staff Attorney with the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society.