State Sen. Gounardes steps in for emergency renter's assistance rollout

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes is jumping in to promote the rollout of renter's assistance.
He handed out flyers Tuesday at subway stations in Brooklyn to make sure the public has all the information they need.
The pandemic has caused many New Yorkers to fall on hard times - this includes paying rent. The state introduced the Emergency Rental Assistance program in the spring, but Gounardes says some residents are still unaware.
The flyers are in Spanish, English, Arabic and Chinese explaining how to apply. There are income eligibility requirements, but Gounardes encourages any renter or even landlord to apply if they are owed money. He also emphasizes that anyone can apply regardless of immigration status.
The state senator explains the pandemic disrupted the housing ecosystem, with tenants unable to pay rent due to unemployment or reduced hours. In turn, landlords couldn't pay bills. Congress gave the state $2.3 billion last year for the program with New York adding $300 million to the pot. Now they want to make sure everyone knows that help it is available.
"For up to 12 months of back rent, three months of forward-looking rent, and up to 12 months of utility payment assistance as well," says Gounardes.
"The Asian American community of New York had the highest increase of unemployment claims of any racial group at about 6,900%" says Wayne Ho of Chinese American Planning Council.
Gov. Kathy Hochul extended the eviction moratorium to Jan. 15 of next year. Gounardes says anyone who applies for the rental assistance program is protected from eviction for up to one year. He stresses that it's important to apply now before the money runs out.