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New York State Has Denied Over 60% Of Rent Relief Applications

There were 94,000 applications for the state's rent relief program.

More than 57,000 applications have been rejected from New York’s rent relief program because they didn’t meet the criteria for support, more than 60% of all applicants.

A report from the Division of Homes and Community Renewal found 94,000 applications for relief came through between July 16 and Aug. 6, Crain’s New York Business reports. However, the agency found more than half of those were knocked back because they didn’t meet requirements.

"I think it’s breathtaking how many denials there were," Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal told Crain's. She described the number of rejections as "outrageous." "That means 57,000 households are in crisis right now."

State Sen. Brian Kavanagh said it may be necessary to reassess the criteria and broaden the eligibility for the program.

Of the $100M available in the program, the state has released about $23.2M for some 9,600 households. There is $16.8M more approved to be sent out, but not yet distributed. New York City has received the lion’s share of the funding so far, with 86% of the money released provided to applicants across the five boroughs.

There are widespread concerns about New Yorkers’ abilities to continue paying rent amid this health and economic crisis. The unemployment rate is at 14% in the city, meaning half a million people are out of work. Landlords say they have been reaching deals with tenants who cannot pay rent, even as a movement to cancel rent has gained momentum

Kavanagh told Bisnow last month that rather than canceling rent, he wants to work to develop systems to help people meet their obligations.

“Property owners, as well as tenant advocates, should understand that it is going to be very difficult to address this crisis without real financial relief from the federal government,” said Kavanagh, who is the chairman of the Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development. “I’m somewhat optimistic that at some point, the federal government will get around to doing this next stimulus bill."