Sen. Chuck Schumer joined lawmakers and housing advocates in calling on the state to speed up federal rental relief payments to struggling tenants and landlords Sunday.
The funds are part of the massive federal COVID relief bill.
Schumer says the more than $2 billion the state received in COVID rent relief is not being distributed fast enough.
He pleaded for the state to expedite the release of the funds ahead of the eviction moratorium deadline at the end of August.
"Tenant relief now! The tenants desperately need it. There’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to get it. The money is sitting there in the coffers of the state,” Schumer said. "With school opening up, and those in need of jobs, the last thing you want to be worried about is, am I going to be homeless."
In a statement, a spokesperson for the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance said, in part, "Test payments were made July 19 and we are now ready to safely and efficiently deliver billions of dollars in rental assistance to New Yorkers. In the meantime, tenants who have submitted a completed application remain protected from eviction.”
Schumer says if the money isn’t doled out by then, the funds could be diverted back to the federal government.
As of Thursday, the state has sent out $117,000.
Applications are now being processed on a first come, first serve basis.