WCNY: Lawmakers Eye Another Rent Relief Program Before Budget Deadline

Originally published in WCNY

On February 4, 2021, Dave Lombardo of WCNY covered Senator Kavanagh's response to the recent announcement that more than 1.3 billion dollars will be made available to New York State to address housing issues caused by the pandemic.  The piece notes that Senator Kavanagh, who chairs New York's Housing Committee, wants to move as quickly as possible to get money into the hands of New Yorkers in need, rather than waiting until mid-Spring for the budget to be finalized.  The full text of the article is below; the original version is available via the link above.

Lawmakers Eye Another Rent Relief Program Before Budget Deadline
By David Lombardo
February 4, 2021

The Senate majority’s point person on housing is hoping to approve a plan for distributing the latest pile of federal rental assistance well before the budget is due.

The December stimulus from Washington D.C. included about $1.3 billion in housing assistance for New York, with the bulk of the money left to the state to distribute. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal calls for funding to flow through a state social services agency, while Senate Housing, Construction and Community Development Committee Chair Brian Kavanagh is also updating a competing rent relief plan.

“We’re looking at legislation, and also I would say that we are looking at not waiting for the conclusion of the budget process,” Kavanagh told The Capitol Pressroom. “This is an urgent problem and we should be putting a program on the books and getting the money out the door as soon as possible.”

The Manhattan Democrat wouldn’t make any promises on when a vote could occur on standalone rent legislation. The budget is due on April 1.

In light of the new presidential administration, Kavanagh said they’re waiting on new guidance from the U.S.  Department of the Treasury that will inform how the state can spend the federal dollars. “There are a few moving parts,” he said, but still expected to have an updated version of his legislation “soon.”