New York State Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt and Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay today met with Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon to learn more about the county-implemented program to distribute nearly $29 million in federal money to help provide relief to tenants and small landlords.
New York State currently has $2.4 billion through the federal CARES act and the New York State budget to provide housing relief throughout New York State. However, Governor Cuomo’s office has not put a process in place to accept applications and distribute these funds statewide to those who desperately need it, despite calls from the Minority leaders to do so.
To quickly assist struggling tenants and property owners, Onondaga County implemented their own program to disperse the funds. Similar programs have been set up or announced in Monroe County, Erie County and the Seneca Nation. Since opening their application process on April 19th, Onondaga County has received 3,656 applications to date, with the first round of payments being processed this week.
“I want to commend County Executive McMahon for acting proactively to get crucial relief for tenants who couldn’t pay their rent and landlords who couldn’t pay their property taxes and utility bills. New Yorkers arguably need this relief the most, yet we remain one of only a few states who have not implemented a program to get this funding out to tenants and landlords who are desperate for it. Onondaga County’s program should serve as a model for the rest of the state, and I reiterate my call for New York State to follow suit and get these funds out the door immediately. We can’t let bureaucratic delays put this much needed relief funding at risk,” said Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt.
“New York state’s failure to act in a timely manner to distribute these funds is just as much unacceptable as it is unsurprising. My colleagues and I raised concerns about the delayed implementation of a program designed to provide much-needed relief for tenants and landlords months ago. While the financial hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic have continued to increase, Albany has dragged its feet. I applaud County Executive McMahon for his innovative and successful program which has connected critical financial aid to the tenants and landlords throughout Onondaga County,” said Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay.
“We have known that as we emerge on the other side of this pandemic, there would be thousands of tenants and small landlords who needed help. Our team immediately went to work to set up a process to help these people and avoid a potentially devastating housing crisis. Thank you to our partners on the Federal level for providing these resources and to our County team for working quickly to help these folks in need,” said Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon.