Friend Calling for Release of $1.3 Billion in Fed Aid Given to NY to Help Renters and Small Rental Property Owners

Assemblyman Christopher S. Friend (R,C,I-Big Flats) is calling on the governor to send a message of necessity to allow the Legislature to approve the appropriation bill which would release $1.3 billion in federal aid passed by Congress in December 2020. The funds are specifically earmarked to assist tenants pay rent and landlords pay mortgages, utilities and upkeep. Three months have elapsed with Albany taking no action to release this important aid.

“New York is sitting on $1.3 billion in federal rent relief which is critically needed by those struggling since the pandemic. As New Yorkers wait for this relief, bills continue to pile up as well as unpaid property taxes, and it threatens to create instability in our housing market,” said Friend. “With so many other states already moving to distribute this relief, it’s inexcusable that has New York dragged its feet. We need to release this federal aid, now.”

In February, Friend, along with his state legislative colleagues in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes, wrote an op-ed raising concerns about the rising number of tenants who were behind in their rent and a growing number of small property owners who were struggling to keep up with property taxes and other payments.The vast majority, about 73 percent, of single-family and two- to four-unit rental properties are owned by “mom and pop” owners, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Friend noted that with roughly 42 percent of New Yorkers at risk of eviction or foreclosure within the next two months, according to a recent Census Bureau housing survey, the relief funds are critically needed to ensure housing stability. The assemblyman says the state cannot delay any longer.