Who’ll stop the rain? Help is here for NYC renters
We’re big on metaphors in the news
business, and sometimes they
surface in the events we cover.
That occurred on Saturday night at the
big “We Love NYC” concert on the Great
Lawn at Central Park. The culmination of
NYC Homecoming Week, the star-studded
concert intended to celebrate the city’s recovery
from the COVID-19 pandemic in grand
style with an unforgettable night of music.
And then the rains and lightning from
Tropical Storm Henri came. In one hour’s
time, between 10 and 11 p.m. Saturday
night, Central Park saw 1.91 inches of rain —
an all-time record for an hour-long rainfall.
The storm short-circuited a night that
was supposed to be symbolic of the city’s
recovery, about halfway through its course.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, on Monday, said it was
something akin to the idiom of the glass being
half-full; the last half of the show was
lost, but the fi rst half was epic.
We saw it a bit more existentially than
the mayor did.
The concert cancellation embodied the
national recovery from COVID-19, in many
respects. We’re trying to get back on with our
lives, and yet the virus continues to sicken
and kill people every day. It’s continuing to
persist largely through the highly-contagious,
highly-potent Delta variant.
But the virus and the variant aren’t the
only source of the rain on our parade. The
other source comes from the incredible stubbornness
of so many unvaccinated people
who have made this health crisis about them,
rather than about the country.
They cry about freedom and rights,
but forget about responsibility and other
people’s health. They protest mask and vaccine
mandates while the virus, which doesn’t
care about either, continues infecting and
killing the unvaccinated by the thousands
Stubbornness and selfi shness keep this
virus alive. And as long as COVID-19
continues without the entire populace committed
to its defeat, we’re never going to be
able to put down the masks for good — and
return to the lives we once had.
This pandemic has rained down upon our
city and country long enough. By now, all
of us should be tired of being soaked, and
resolved to put an end to it.
That means getting vaccinated and masking
up until COVID-19 is put out of commission
for good. Only then will the show truly
go on, and the good times roll.
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BY CONGRESSWOMAN CAROLYN
Americans all across the country are
dealing with the economic crises
wrought by coronavirus pandemic
– with too many families struggling to keep
a roof over their heads.
As a city that is home to millionsofrenters,
New Yorkers know this pain far
That is why my colleagues and I fought
to include $46 billion dollars in rental assistance
in the December 2020 Coronavirus
relief package and the American Rescue
Plan (ARP). Approximately $2.3 billion of
this total is designated for New York state.
Now that Congress has appropriated
these funds, New York State is responsible
for getting these funds to New Yorkers
through the NY State Emergency Rental
Assistance Program (ERAP), which opened
on June 1, 2021.
As of Aug. 16, New York state has approved
8,200 applications, disbursed $114
million in rental assistance and marked
another $600 million to be disbursed.
However, the backlog – and therefore
people waiting for help – is overwhelming.
In the fi rst 30 days alone, the state received
I am pleased that the state has committed
to ending the backlog by Aug. 31,
which is the expiration date for the State
Eviction Moratorium. However, as I wrote
on July 21 when I urged the state to process
these applications as quickly as possible,
if necessary, we may need to extend the
state’s eviction moratorium.
Given the spread of the delta variant
and rise in COVID-19 cases throughout
the city, it would be dangerous and
shortsighted to resume evictions without
providing the rental assistance that New
Yorkers need and deserve. We need people
to have a safe place to sleep, eat, and social
distance. Kicking people out of their homes
PHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
is antithetical to that.
If you need rental assistance, please
otda.ny.gov/). Both the rental and owner/
landlord need to fi ll out parts of the application
and this can take time. There
are also community-based organizations
available to help you through this process,
you can fi nd a list of them on the Offi ce
of Temporary and Disability Assistance’s
While both the landlord and the renter
must complete certain parts of the application
and either a renter or an owner/landlord
can start an application, only the tenant can
sign and submit the application. If your landlord
starts the application, you will receive
an email or text to complete the required
Filling for the Emergency Rental Assistance
Program (ERAP) may also help you
if your landlord does not act in good faith.
If it’s determined that a renter is eligible for
this assistance and the landlord cannot be
contacted to provide the necessary information,
the State will hold these funds for 180
days. Renters will receive written notifi cation
of the available rental assistance and should
share this with the landlord. If needed, this
documentation can be provided to a court
as a defense in any proceeding seeking a
monetary judgement or eviction brought
by a landlord for the non-payment of rent
during the time period which was covered
by the available rental assistance that they
did not collect.
Importantly, individuals’ immigration
status is not a factor in qualifying for this
The coronavirus pandemic has presented
us with unprecedented wide-spread economic
hardship as we contend with this
public health emergency. To help our city,
state, and country survive this crisis, Congress
has taken action to provide monetary
aid – I encourage everyone who qualifi es to
make use of it.
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