Utica, N.Y.—Oneida County residents can now apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The county was awarded over $6 million in funding to distribute to eligible applicants.
“There has been a hardship on people that rent and on landlords,” Anthony Picente, Oneida County Executive said. “And similar to people being out of work they are out of income too so we really need to get this moving and get them the money that they have coming to them.”
The ERAP was created to provide economic relief to low-income and moderate-income households who are at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of rental and/or utility assistance the county is working with the New York State Office of Temporary Aid Disability Assistance to disperse the funding. The OTDA created an online application that went live Monday, June 1. It can be accessed at https://nysrenthelp.otda.ny.gov.
You are eligible to receive funding if you meet the following criteria. Your household gross income is at or below 80% of the area median income. If on or after Mar 13, 2020, a member of your household received unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs, or experienced financial hardship, directly or indirectly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re obligated to pay rent at your primary residence and if you are overdue on rent on or after Mar 13, 2020.
“So you know the priority will be on 50% of the average income first and then work its way backward,” Picente said.
Priority applications for the next month will be given to households with income at or below 50% of the area median income that also have a member who is currently unemployed for at least 90 days, or is a veteran, or is currently experiencing domestic violence, or is a survivor of human trafficking; has an eviction case related to their current residence pending in court; resides in a mobile home, or lives in a community that was disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
To provide local assistance Oneida County has a contract with the Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency to assist residents with the application process. The number to reach MVCAA is 315-624-9930
“We’ll also go out into those neighborhoods to help those that are maybe having difficulty with it for which maybe tenants are reluctant to sign not understanding it entirely dealing with landlords the same way,” Picente said.
The county also has a helpline and email address made specifically to answer questions about the ERAP and provide direction, you can email RentalAssistance@ocgov.net and call 315-798-5439 for more help.