New York Governor: Free Legal Assistance for Struggling Tenants

Governor Hochul Announces $25 Million to Provide Free Legal Assistance for Struggling Tenants

New York (STL.News) Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that $25 million in federal funding will be used to provide free legal assistance to low-income renters facing eviction in areas of the state outside of New York City where access to free legal aid is not available to meet the need of these renters.  The legal assistance is aimed at helping both tenants and landlords resolve rent-related disputes and maintaining tenants’ housing stability.  The awardees of this funding will be announced on Monday.

“The pandemic has shown us that every New Yorker deserves the stability of a home,” Governor Hochul said.  “This critical funding will help struggling tenants access free legal assistance they can rely on to reach a resolution with their landlord and avoid the potential for eviction proceedings.  We will continue to push for additional federal funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to provide relief to renters.”

Earlier today, Governor Hochul announced that New York State has officially requested $996 million in additional federal funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.  The request for these funds would cover projected need over the next four months, based on already-submitted applications, as well as a portion of projected need for tenants living in publicly subsidized housing.

New York State recently surpassed $1 billion in direct payments to landlords and has now fully obligated its $2.4 billion in funding — less than six months after first taking applications.  Applications will continue to be accepted through Sunday, Nov. 14, until 10 p.m.  The program will suspend accepting new applications at that time, except in the following areas, where allocations have not yet been exhausted, and where tenants are encouraged to apply: Dutchess County, Nassau County (not including the towns of Hempstead or Oyster Bay), Niagara County, Oneida County, Saratoga County, Suffolk County (not including the towns of Brookhaven or Islip), Westchester County (not including the city of Yonkers).

As part of the law, $25 million in federal funding was set aside to provide legal services to tenants facing eviction proceedings and to help them maintain housing stability in areas of the state where access to free legal assistance for such services is not readily available.  Residents of New York City already have access to free legal representation in housing court to help avoid eviction.