NEW YORK — Mark Venaglia says as an artist and tour guide, his income dried up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Upper West Side resident tells NY1 he owes $14,000 in back rent.
“I mean, I don’t have a whopper savings — I certainly don’t have any patrons to bail me out of this,” Venaglia said.
Venaglia said he applied for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) months ago, but he has not received an answer.
“I haven’t worked in over a year,” he said. “It’s terrifying.”
“There are a lot of people like my client Mr. Venaglia, who suffered income loss due to COVID and for whom it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, of paying those arrears without these funds,” said Rachel Granfield of Legal Services NYC.
But the federal money from the fund could be running out, according to an analysis by the landlord advocacy group Community Housing Improvement Program, also known as CHIP.
What You Need To Know
- Landlord advocacy group estimates by Sept. 27 the state will have approved or paid out rental assistance to more than 168,000 applicants
- The total assistance paid or obligated is expected to reach $2.18 billion, which is more than what it believes than the state has
- CHIP estimates after administrative costs the state has about $2.15 billion to distribute
- The group is calling on lawmakers to lobby for more federal funding
CHIP says by next Monday, Sept. 27, the state will have approved and or paid out rental assistance to more than 168,000 applicants.
The total assistance paid or obligated will reach $2.18 billion, which is more than what it believes than the state has.
CHIP estimates after administrative costs, the state has about $2.15 billion to distribute.
The group is calling on elected leaders to add more funding.
“And the reason why this is vital that we get more money in is, because this money actually prevents evictions from happening. It’s not eviction moratoriums, but getting this money out the door to make sure rental debt is paid is what keeps people in their homes,” CHIP Executive Director Jay Martin said.
CHIP estimates that between 230,000 and 280,000 renters in arrears have not even applied for ERAP yet.
Venaglia meantime is hoping for the best, as he anxiously awaits an update on his application.
“I’m a lower middle-class person. I love living in New York, I love working in New York and I want a chance to do that,” he said.
A spokesperson for State Sen. Brian Kavanagh says he thinks it’s unlikely the state will disperse the remaining funds in one week, and says there is no reliable data on how many households are affected.
Sen. Charles Schumer’s office says getting more funding for rental assistance is a top issue for him.
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