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Emergency Rental Assistance Program: How to Apply

The NY Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which provides relief of up to 12 months of past due rent, is now accepting applications.

Update: January 11, 2022: 

Due to a court order, applications for ERAP are being accepted again statewide. Apply here

The applications will only be reviewed and considered for funding when more additional funding is available, except in the areas listed in the portal. While it is unknown when more funding will be added, applying for ERAP will protect a tenant from eviction until they receive their decision. 

What is The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)?

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is a statewide program that provides rent relief of up to 12 months of past due rent and up to 3 months of additional aid to new yorkers who have faced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The applications first opened back in June of 2021, at a dire time when, according to the latest census data released May 10th in the Household Pulse Survey—43% of respondents in NY are very-likely or someone-what-likely to leave their home in the next two months due to eviction. From those categories, 12% are Latinos, 38% are Black, 43% are Asian, and 6% are White. 

Ever since ERAP was announced in early April, we have received messages in our WhatsApp community regarding its eligibility. A common question was:

Are immigrants without legal status eligible for rental assistance? 

The answer is YES. Everyone who resides in NY is eligible to apply regardless of immigration status, so long as they meet the criteria and can provide the required documentation.

While the program will prioritize households with income below or at 50% of the Area Median Income, all households are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, regardless of the group you are in. The funds are limited. 

If you received help through the previous COVID Rent Relief Program you can still qualify.  

Note: Residents of City of Rochester and Monroe County, the City of Yonkers, Onondaga County and the towns of Hempstead, Islip and Oyster Bay must apply with their local programs for emergency rental assistance and are ineligible for assistance from the state-administered Emergency Rental Assistance Program. 

Also Read: COVID-19 is Creating More Homeless Undocumented Immigrants in New York

Who is eligible for rental assistance in New York? (Link)

In order to apply for assistance, New Yorkers must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Household gross income is at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). These income limits differ by county and household size. A household may qualify based on current income or calendar year 2020 income that is at or below 80 percent AMI.
  • On or after March 13, 2020, a member of the household received unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs or experienced financial hardship, directly or indirectly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The applicant is obligated to pay rent at their primary residence and has rental arrears (rent overdue) at their current residence for rent owed on or after March 13, 2020.
  • The household must be at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which can be demonstrated by having rental arrears owed on or after March 13, 2020.

Not sure if you qualify for rental assistance? Use this screening tool by Make The Road to see if you qualify: Rent Relief Pre-application Checklist

Documents needed: 

  • Personal Identification for ALL household members. Forms Include: Photo ID, Drivers License or non-driver government-issued ID, EBT/Benefits Card, Birth or Baptismal certificate, school registration. 
  • Social Security Number of any household number of members who have been issued one. Applicants do not need to have a lawful immigration status to apply
  • Proof of Rental Amount signed lease, even if expired. If no lease is available then proof can be shown through a rent receipt, canceled check or money order. If no documentation is available, landlord attestation will be accepted.
  • Proof of residency and occupancy – Signed lease, rent receipt, utility bill, school records, bank statement, postal mail with name of applicant, insurance bill, or driver license. Proof should be current.

Proof of Income to document income eligibility:

  • Documents demonstrating monthly income for the prior month, such as pay stubs, bank account deposit verification, unemployment benefits letter, or other proof; 

OR

  • Documents demonstrating annual income for 2020, such as a W-2 tax form from an employer, an annual statement of earnings, or a copy of a completed income tax return, such as a 1040, 1040EZ, 1099 tax form, or other evidence of 2020 annual income. Self-attestation of income is permitted in certain circumstances where no documentation is available such as certain self-employment.

Note: If applying for help paying utility arrears at the same rental unit you must also provide a copy of gas or electric utility bill. 

Applicants will be asked to attest that on or after March 13, 2020, a member of the household received unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced other financial hardship, directly or indirectly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The applicant will need to sign the application form and associated certifications agreeing that the information provided in the application is accurate.

Also read: Excluded Workers Fund: How It Will Work for Undocumented Immigrants

When applying for rental assistance, landlords and property owners will need to provide:

  • Completed W-9 tax form.
  • Executed lease with tenant applicant, or if there is no written lease, a cancelled check, evidence of funds transfer or other documentation of the last full monthly rent payment.
  • Documentation of rent due from tenant (e.g. ledger, etc.) or attestation on application.
  • Banking information to receive direct deposit payment.
    The property owner or an authorized property management company will be required to sign the application form and associated certifications agreeing that the information provided, including the amount of rental arrears owed, is accurate and does not duplicate a payment received from another program.

The property owner or authorized property management company must also agree to the following terms as a condition of accepting rental arrears payments:

  • The ERAP payment satisfies the tenant’s full rental obligations for the time period covered by the payment.
  • Waive any late fees due on any rental arrears covered by the ERAP payment.
  • Not increase the monthly rental amount above the monthly amount due at the time of application for ERAP assistance for months for which rental assistance is received and for one year from receipt of the ERAP payment.
  • Not evict the household on behalf of whom the ERAP payment is made for reason of expired lease or holdover tenancy for one year from the receipt of the ERAP payment. An exception to this requirement shall be made if the dwelling unit contains four or fewer units and the property owner or owner’s immediate family members intend to immediately occupy the unit for use as a primary residence.

Print: Landlord Checklist

What are the benefits of rental assistance? 

  • Up to 12 months of rental arrears payments for rents accrued on or after March 13, 2020. 
  • Up to 3 months of additional rental assistance if the household is expected to spend 30 percent or more of their gross monthly income to pay for rent.
  • Up to 12 months of electric or gas utility arrears payments for arrears that have accrued on or after March 13, 2020.

Payments will be made and sent directly to the landlord/property owner and utility company on behalf of the tenant. Tenant applicants will be notified of the amounts paid on their behalf. If a landlord is difficult to locate or does not otherwise provide information needed to complete the application, funds will be held for up to 180 days to allow sufficient time to locate the landlord and collect required information as well as to provide tenant protections and maximize landlord participation.

Where can I apply for the rental assistance?

Visit this link to apply

How to apply:  

The link above this section will take you directly to the page where the application can be started. You will find information about the program, and additional links.. On the top right side, under quick links,  you will see the button “Apply Here Now!”

Once you click, you will have the option to register for an account and start a new application. 

!! If you see an error message after clicking the image, clear you browsing data (history, cookies, and cache). This will fix the problem !!

Note June 2nd: If you do not register, you will no longer have the option to return to the application. We recommend creating an account (registering) before starting the process. 

New Applications:

These are the tabs that you must complete. 

Applicant information: 

These are some of the questions and details that they will ask you. 

Are you submitting on behalf of someone else? Yes or No. 

Full-name of the applicant, Date of Birth, Address, Email Address, Phone number, SSN (if you have now) or License or Government Issued ID, Race/Ethnicity. 

Under this tab they will ask you about the lease, your employment status, if you are a full-time students, filed taxes for 2020, and if you can be claimed as a dependent. These are all yes and no questions. 

Note: if you filed taxes for 2020, have the form number ready and the amount on line 11 or line 4 for 1040EZ

COVID-19 hardship

This section will ask you if you or one of the members of the household received  unemployment benefits sometime after March 13, 2020.

It will also ask you about the income, if you experienced any reduction in hours or were terminated. These are all check-in boxes. 

Additional household members

Under this tab you will need to enter the number of individuals, including yourself, living in the unit. Then you will be asked to enter their basic information: 

Full name, Date of Birth, Address, Email Address, Phone number, SSN (if you have now) or License or Government Issued ID, Race/Ethnicity. 

Income

These questions have dropdown options. And will ask you to put your income source, how often, and the amount you make. 

Each person in the household will have to input the information. 

Lease

For this tab you will need the amount, the year in which it started (or when you started to pay rent), the number of units, and whom you are leasing it from. 

Note: The address you used at the “information” tab will be filled in automatically. 

Rent arrears

Under this tab you will have to insert the amount owed on the months listed after March 2020. Partial information and late fees can also be inserted.  Here is a screenshot of how it looks. 

Note: if you need help paying future rents, on select YES on the bottom and choose the number of months from the dropdown menu. 

Utilities

If you select YES to get help paying for utility arrears (only past due) you will need to enter the company, account number, name and last name of the person on the bill, and whose name the bill is under (yourself, someone else, etc). 

Similar to the table for the rent arrears you will be asked to enter the amount billed and the amount past due for the months you are asking for. 

Prior and current rent assistance

This tab will ask you if you have received, or are receiving additional help to pay your past due rent. This can be from local, governmental organizations or private parties. You must answer all these questions truthfully. 

Remember: even if you received help to pay rent in the past, you are still eligible for assistance from this program. 

Communications preference

This section will ask you how you prefer to receive updates and notifications. The choices are sms/text messages, email, or paper notices in the mail. Choose which one works best for you. 

You can also choose your language  of preference from the drop down menu. 

Applicant certification

This is one of the last sections needed to apply for the program. We recommend going back tab by tab and ensuring that all the information is accurate. On this tab you will have to electronically sign at the bottom of the page.

Any information that is not accurate can cause delays, make you ineligible, or be held against you. We repeat: please review all the information before signing.  

And then you will see this. 

Don’t worry, it is only reminding you to upload the documentation. 

Documents to upload

You will need to upload the following documents for ALL the household members (see section on the top for documents accepted).

  1. Examples of documentation to prove identity for household members (only one for each person).
  • Photo ID, such as: Passport, Driver’s License, Military ID, State ID, Other Government ID (e.g. consular card / NYCID), Non-driver government-issued ID, EBT/Benefits Issuance Card, Birth certificate, Medicare card, Student ID, Immigration Card (not required), Baptismal certificate, School records
  • If none of the above can be provided, two (2) collateral contact statements are acceptable. (A “collateral contact statement” is from someone who knows the identity of the person.)
  1. Examples of documentation to prove the address submitted on your application.
  • Lease, Driver’s License, Rent receipt, School records, Benefits award letters, Utility Bills (same address as submitted on the application), Bank statement, Insurance bill, Piece of mail with name and address
  • If none of the above can be provided, two (2) collateral contact statements are acceptable. (A “collateral contact statement” is from someone who knows the identity of the person.)
  1. Income Documentation. You may document current income or last year’s full annual 2020 income.

3A. Examples of documentation to prove monthly income of any household member that has income:

  • Paystubs (minimum of 1), Social Security benefits award letter , Veteran’s benefits award letter, Public Benefits award letter, Child support award letter/enforcement printout, Child support affidavit, Bank records/statement that show regular deposits, Unemployment Insurance benefits letter, For self-employed, self-attestation (forms)
  • Self-attestation, if none of the above can be provided

3B. Examples of documentation to prove annual income of any household member that has income:

  • 2020 IRS Tax Return (Annual, AGI), forms such as: 1040, 1040 EZ, W-2s, 1099s
  1. Examples of documentation to establish the monthly rent amount
  • Formal lease, Tenancy agreement, Lapsed lease, Evidence of payments made, such as Rent Receipt, Canceled Check or Money Order, Landlord statement, Self-attestation, if none of the above can be provided
  • Utility arrears If you are asking for help to pay utility arrears, you need to submit a copy of your gas and/or electric bill.

And then submit. Keep the application number for reference, and to track your application. 

Note: Upload one document at a time. Format must be either PDF, JPG, JEPG and/or PNG. Max size is 4MB. (END)

Need assistance applying?

Here is a list of organizations in NYC enrolled to help with the ERAP applications:

Bronx

BronxWorks

Neighborhood Association for Intercultural Affairs, Inc. (NAICA) | 718-866-0038

Brooklyn

Black Veterans for Social Justice, Inc.

Good Shepherd Services (GSS) | 929-292-9480

RiseBoro Community Partnership | 718-547-2800

Manhattan

Catholic Charities Community Services | 888-744-7900

University Settlement

Queens

Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York, Inc | 646-248-6602

RiseBoro Community Partnership

Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services (CCNS)

Staten Island

Project Hospitality | 929-724-5360

For help in other counties visit this link.

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