Expanded Eligibility for COVID Rent Relief Program

December 18, 2020

Previous Applicants Do Not Need to Re-Apply

New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) has announced the COVID Rent Relief Program will be reopened for application with expanded eligibility criteria in an effort to serve New Yorkers who may have not had the opportunity to initially apply and those who may have been previously ineligible. HCR will accept applications from households starting at 9 a.m. on Friday, December 18 through Monday, February 1, 2021. 

The Program’s eligibility has been changed to no longer require households to have been considered “rent burdened” prior to the pandemic in order to qualify. Rent burden is defined as paying more than 30 percent of monthly gross income towards rent.

Residents that previously applied for COVID Rent Relief will not have to reapply to be reconsidered. HCR will re-evaluate all applications that were denied according to the new criteria and issue revised determination letters to applicants.

To qualify for this one-time subsidy, low-income renters impacted by the pandemic must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Must be a renter and have a primary residence in New York State;
  • Applicants must have lost income during the period of April 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020;
  • Before March 7, 2020, household income must have been at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income, adjusted for household size; and
  • Households must be “rent burdened” during the months they are applying for assistance between April 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020. 

For the purposes of assessing applicant income, cash benefits and unemployment benefits are both included in the calculation. 

The subsidy for eligible applicants will be calculated as: the difference between the household’s rent burden on March 1, 2020 and the household’s rent burden during the months of April, May, June and July of 2020. For applicants who were not considered rent burdened on March 1, 2020, the subsidy will be calculated to bring them to the 30 percent rent burden threshold.

Applications are available on the COVID Rent Relief Program portal on HCR’s website here: https://hcr.ny.gov/rrp.

Applicants may also apply by phone by contacting HCR’s COVID Rent Relief Program Call Center at 1-833-499-0318. Call Center representatives are available Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. You may also email covidrentrelief@hcr.ny.gov for assistance or if you have questions about your application.