MORE THAN $16M IN EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE FUNDING ISSUED IN WESTCHESTER

Cross-posted from WestchesterGov.com

MORE THAN $16M IN EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE FUNDING ISSUED IN WESTCHESTER

Vital financial aid to cover back rent and utilities

for eligible Westchester County residents and landlords

New York State also launches separate $125M program to assist landlords

 

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY (Oct. 14, 2021) – Emergency financial relief is flowing to county residents who applied for the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which covers rent and utility arrears to Westchester households at risk of eviction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than $16 million has been issued directly to landlords and utility companies on behalf of 1,140 tenant households in Westchester County.

New York State also has launched a separate $125 million program for landlords who were unable to apply for ERAP due to a federal requirement that allowed only tenants to apply. The new Landlord Rental Assistance Program (LRAP) is providing up to 12 months of past-due rent to eligible landlords whose tenants either applied for ERAP and were denied, declined to complete an ERAP application or vacated the residence with arrears. The program is being administered by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. For information, visit otda.ny.gov/lrap.

One county resident who has gotten assistance is Rohey Mbenga, of Elmsford, who applied for ERAP assistance in June and was recently notified that more than $33,000 will be issued to her landlord. The assistance was welcome news to the single mother of three, who lost her job at Lord & Taylor in Eastchester when the retailer shut its doors earlier this year. “I was so worried. I couldn’t sleep,” said Mbenga, noting the struggles of finding employment during the pandemic. “I didn’t know what to do. You don’t want to end up in the street, especially if you have kids.”

When Mbenga learned about the program she contacted Mount Vernon United Tenants, one of 13 local nonprofits partnering with Westchester County to assist individuals seeking to apply for ERAP. “The staff was very helpful. They assisted with the application and helped me file online,” Mbenga said, adding she recently landed a new job, at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry.

“We’re so encouraged to see our local residents getting the critical financial assistance they need to cover their rents and utilities so families can stay together in their homes,” said Dennis Hanratty, Executive Director of Mount Vernon United Tenants, a community-based organization that advocates for tenant rights.

 

“Our staff has been counseling residents and assisting them with applications, so we’re seeing first-hand the value of this program to tenants and to landlords. Knowing there is help for families impacted by the pandemic will be of great reassurance to Westchester renters,” Hanratty added.

 

The ERAP program has received more than 4,100 applications from Westchester County residents. Applications from eligible residents are still being processed, on a first-come, first-served basis, and residents are urged to apply quickly while funding is still available. In addition, New York State has expanded the household-income eligibility for rental assistance from 80 percent to 120 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), which, for a household of four in the county, is $153,000. The funding comes as New York State’s eviction moratorium has been extended to Jan. 15, 2022.

 

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “The response we are seeing clearly shows the need for this federal funding for our most vulnerable residents who have suffered financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage all eligible households at risk of housing instability to reach out to our nonprofit partners and get the help you need.”

 

HELP IS AVAILABLE FOR ASSISTANCE WITH APPLICATIONS

Applicants can call United Way of Westchester and Putnam’s 2-1-1 hotline with questions and to find a nonprofit partner in their community. Rental counseling is available, in English and Spanish, with guidance for gathering documents and access to computers to complete the application online. If you’ve applied and want a status update on your application, call the New York State Office for Temporary and Disability Assistance help line at 844-NY1RENT (844-691-7368).

 

Click here to Apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

 

ERAP is providing financial assistance for up to 12 months of past-due rent, 3 months of future rent and 12 months of utility arrears payments to eligible tenants, regardless of immigration status. Payments are being made directly to the eligible tenant’s landlord or property owner, and utility company. Westchester is assisting applicants throughout the county, except in Yonkers, where tenants and landlords are working directly with the municipality and its nonprofit partners.

 

Commissioner of the Department of Planning Norma Drummond said: “We are so pleased to see this funding getting to our tenants and landlords who have been struggling to manage through these difficult times. If you are at risk of housing instability and think you are eligible for this funding, we encourage you to apply right away.”

New York State residents are eligible for ERAP if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Household gross income is at or below 120 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 120 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.

 

The New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program is being funded by $2.6 billion in federal aid. For information and to find a nonprofit partner to help you apply, visit Westchester County’s Housing Help page. Yonkers residents may visit yonkersny.gov to learn about their unique application process.

 

The Westchester County Department of Planning conducts a comprehensive work program and shapes and influences growth and development in Westchester County in order to improve quality of life and protect the environment, resulting in more livable and sustainable communities. For information, visit https://planning.westchestergov.com/.

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Media Contact:

Caryn McBride

Co-Communications

cmcbride [at] cocommunications.com

Download News Release (PDF)

 

 

Early October 2021 – News and Update

EARLY-OCTOBER, 2021 – “NEWS & UPDATE”|

We normally hold our Annual Meeting on the first Tuesday of October. However, due to various scheduling difficulties, we’ve had to reschedule it for the following Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at 7:00pm. We’ve attached a notice for the Annual Meeting on the reverse side of this. Please come to the Annual Meeting and support MVUT. We’re involved in so many pro-tenant campaigns, we need everyone’s help – active and financial. Call with any questions (914) 699-1114.

At our Annual Meeting, we will be electing three (3) members to our Board of Directors. MVUT has a nine (9) meinber Board and three (3) seats come up for election every year. Members serve a three (3) year term. All paid members of MVUT are eligible to vote.  If you are interested in serving on our Board give Dennis Hanratty, the Executive Director a call at (914) 699-1114, ext. 303.

We will review lots of exciting news:

  • Eviction Prevention successes
  • Building Organizing news
  • Updates on Policy Campaigns
  • And begin making plans for the upcoming year’s Campaigns.

Come to the Annual Meeting! Get involved in one (1) or more of the important issues/campaigns listed above! Help us win more victories and become even stronger!

Two (2) Upcoming “Tenants Rights Workshops”

MVUT, along with the City of Mt. Vernon, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV) and Catholic Charities of Westchester are sponsoring two (2) “Know Your Rights and Get Help” Workshops – one (1) in Spanish (October 7) and one (1) in English (October 14.) We’re enclosing a two-sided flyer with information on both workshops. Tenants can attend in person or remotely. As the flyer states – “Get Connected, Get Involved, Get Results”.

Support Tenants’ Rights!
Support Affordable Housing!!
Support MVUT!!!

Quality of Life is important. Together, we can make a difference, OPERATION BETTER LIVING

Mount Vernon Renters: Worried about eviction? Living in substandard housing? No heat or hot water in your unit? Mold, infestation, or unsanitary conditions in your bullding? Harassment problems with your landlord?

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AND GET HELP!

The City of Mount Vernon, in coordination with Mount Vernon: United Tenants, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley and Catholic Charities of Westchester presents a Zoom and in-Person workshop on the Mount Vernon Tenant Bill of Rights and tenant assistance programs to help renters pay bills, fight eviction actions, and avoid homelessness, All renters have rights to live in a safe and clean apartment, regardless of where you live or what your citizenship status is.

En Espanol

SPANISH WORKSHOP – THURSDAY OCT. 7TH @ 6 PM
In person: Church of St. Mary and Our Lady of Mount Carmel
23 S. High St, Mount Vernon-OR WATCH REMOTELY VIA ZOOM

Regístrese para el taller Conozca sus derechos (en inglés, en persona oa través de Zoom, 7 de octubre de 2021)

La ciudad de Mount Vernon, en coordinación con Mount Vernon United Tenants, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley y Catholic Charities of Westchester presenta un taller Zoom y en persona sobre la Declaración de derechos de inquilinos de Mount Vernon y programas de asistencia de área para ayudar a los inquilinos a pagar las facturas. , luchar contra las acciones de desalojo y evitar la falta de vivienda. Ingrese su información a continuación para inscribirse en el taller e indique si le gustaría asistir en persona a Iglesia de Santa María y Nuestra Señora del Monte Carmelo (312 S. 8th Ave, Mount Vernon 10550) o reciba el enlace Zoom para asistir y se le enviará uno por correo electrónico. La sesión en persona cumplirá con todas las pautas locales de detección de COVID y distanciamiento social. TODA LA INFORMACIÓN INGRESADA PERMANECERÁ CONFIDENCIAL

Zoom Link: https://uso.web.zoom.us/i/810774152747owd=WTIKTFFHMBImSTBjaWJGLzVWSIZSQT09 on Facebook.com/mountvernonny
Webinar ID; 810 7741 5274 Passcode: 344348 Telephone: 1-929-436-2866

Regístrese para el taller Conozca sus derechos

In English Only
ENGLISH WORKSHOP – THURSDAY OCT. 14TH @ 6 PM
In Person: Greater Centennial AME Zion Church
312 S 8th Avenue, Mount Vernon – Or Watch Remotely via Zoom

Register for October 14 Know Your Rights Workshop (in English, in person or via Zoom, October 14th, 2021)
The City of Mount Vernon, in coordination with Mount Vernon United Tenants, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley and Catholic Charities of Westchester presents a Zoom and In-Person workshop on the Mount Vernon Tenant Bill of Rights and area assistance programs to help renters pay bills, fight eviction actions, and avoid homelessness. Please enter your information below to get signed up for the workshop and indicate if you would like to attend in person at Greater Centennial A.M.E. Zion Church (312 S. 8th Ave, Mount Vernon NY 10550) or receive the Zoom link to attend and one will be emailed to you. The in person session will comply with all local COVID screening and social distancing guidelines. ALL INFORMATION ENTERED WILL REMAIN CONFIDENTIAL.  Register for October 14 Know Your Rights Workshop
Zoom Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/i/81077415274?pwd=WTIKTFFhM3ImSTBfAWIGLZVWS1ZSQT09 on Facebook.com/mountvernonny
Webinar ID: 810 7741 5274 Passcode: 344348 Telephone: 1-929-436-2866Attend this workshop to learn how to:Report housing code violations (like no heat or hot water) on the CMVNY CONNECT app
Work with city building inspectors to have your apartment brought up to fair housing standards
Advocate collectively with your building for better conditions
Get legal support if you are brought to housing court
Protect yourself against harassment or retašation from your landlord
Access case management help for applying for temporary or permanent housing
Qualify for financial assistance to stay in your home

For more INFORMATION, contact:

Mount Vernon United Tenants www.MVUT.org 914-699-1114
Legal Services of the Hudson Valley: www.lshv.org | 877-574-8529
Catholic Charities (Westchester) www.catholiccharitiesny.org | 914-476-2700

Help Us Raise Funds to Improve Even More!!

Yes. I agree MVUT is doinq great work for tenants. I want to help them do even more! Enclosed find my contribution of:

$25 $50 $100 $200 $500 other

Name:

Address:

Telephone:

Email:

Please make checks payable to MVUT and mail to MVUT at P.O. Box 2107, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551  or bring to the office at 2 Gramatan Ave. Suite 304.

Thank you!

 

Mid-September 2021 – “News & Update”

(ERAP)
MVUT has been busy assisting tenants in filing Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) applications for rental arrears if they had their income reduced as a result of Covid-19. We have assisted over one hundred thirty (130) tenants already and referred dozens and dozens of others to do so themselves. Tenants can and should process applications themselves if they have the ability to do so. They can go to the ERAP website: nyhsrenthelp.otda.ny.gov and/or call 1-844-591-7358.  This Saturday from 1o:00am to 1:00pm there will be two (2) meetings to help tenants as well. We’re enclosing flyers in English and in Spanish which lists the sites.

Just last week we started to get confirmation of approval of some of the applications we worked on. The amounts of the awards to pay back rent in the first three (3) cases we learned about are astounding – $33,666.52, $21,600.00, and $15,500.00!!!!  A special shout-out to our new staff member Andrew Aguilar who worked on all of these cases !

Mt. Vernon Hospital
This Friday, September 17,2021, there will be a rally in support of keeping Mt. Vernon Hospital open as a fully operational hospital. Please come out and support this vital community institution! (See reverse side.)

MVUT ANNUAL MEETING
On Tuesday October 5, 2021, MVUT will hold our Annual Meeting at 7:00pm.  At our Annual Meeting we review this past year’s efforts, and lay out preliminary plans for the upcoming year. We will also elect three (3) board members who will serve a staggered three (3) year board term. If you or someone you know would like to run for the board, call the office at (914) 699-1114 X 303. Candidates must be current in their MVUT dues.

$$$
(Speaking of dues (and additional donations), please consider making a contribution. In our last mailing, we included an appeal for funds with a list of the numerous successful campaigns that MVUT has been involved with. These campaigns help ALL tenants. Please help us to continue our work by making a significant contribution.

Support Tenants’ Rights !
Support Affordable Housing! !
Support MVUT!!!

Download Mid-September News & Update (PDF)

Download ERAP Fair Flyer (PDF)

211 Hudson Valley ERAP Help