Adams Calls for more Fed money towards Emergency Rental Assistance Program

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Mayor Eric Adams appointed districting commission members. Photo from Twitter.

Mayor Eric Adams, with the support of Gov. Kathy Hochul and local lawmakers on the federal, state and city level, today called for an immediate infusion of federal funds for New York’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program as a stop gap measure to help the hundreds of thousands of New York renters across the state facing eviction due to the COVID pandemic.

Specifically, Adams is calling on the U. S. Treasury Department to release some of the $45 billion in federal emergency rental assistance given to other states that remain unspent now that the state used up the $2.6 billion allocated under the emergency stimulus program.

“The federal government has the resources, and now it is time for them to take action with an immediate infusion of funds for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program,” said Adams. “New York has gotten the very short end of the stick, and I am joining Senator Schumer and Governor Hochul in demanding that change. In addition, I am encouraging everyone to take advantage of all the resources available to you, know your rights, and protect yourself against eviction.”

Among the local lawmakers on the federal level that will push for more emergency rental assistance from Washington include U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Congressmembers Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan/Brooklyn), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan/Brooklyn/Queens), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Manhattan/Queens/Brooklyn), Gregory W. Meeks (D-Queens), Yvette D. Clarke (D-Brooklyn), Grace Meng (D-Queens) and Jamaal Bowman (D-Bronx/Westchester).

“New York has a demonstrated need for additional rental assistance funds. At a time when our City and its residents are still responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, we must do all we can to ensure our residents are stably housed and have the resources they need to come through this pandemic safely,” said Maloney.

Meeks said as the Biden-Harris Administration prioritizes equity in its policymaking, regional demands must be considered and there remains a strong case for enhanced support for New York’s expansive housing ecosystem.

“I join my colleagues’ efforts to ensure New York – given its high demand for rental assistance – receives the appropriate level of funding necessary to keep people in their homes as the coronavirus remains a significant threat to our City and State,” said Meeks.

Adams also announced new measures to bolster tenant protections and inform tenants of their rights with significant outreach efforts. 

These efforts include having the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU) conduct direct outreach to tenants at risk of eviction to inform them of their rights and connect them to support including access to free legal counsel. The PEU will also run targeted outreach by phone, text, and door-to-door canvassing to tenants who are currently in Housing Court or have a pending case in conjunction while the City launches a paid media campaign to help get the word out about illegal lockouts and the right to counsel, and to encourage tenants who are in need of assistance to contact PEU’s Tenant Helpline.

Local lawmakers also applauded Adams for taking the initiative to pressure Washington for more emergency rental assistance and the administration’s outreach efforts.

“I’m grateful to Mayor Adams and state and federal officials for speaking up to get the funding New Yorkers need to stay in their homes, and for the Right to Counsel program to provide emergency legal assistance for tenants at risk. But at the state and city level, we must address the affordable housing shortage and end unnecessary evictions to ensure safe, affordable, stable homes for all our neighbors,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander.