State’s Rent Relief Program Is Off to a Slow Start

State’s Rent Relief Program Is Off to a Slow Start
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State’s Rent Relief Program Is Off to a Slow Start

State’s Rent Relief Program Is Off to a Slow Start

Weather situation: The clouds dissipate in the afternoon. High around 90.

Parking on the alternative side: Valid until August 15 (Feast of the Assumption).

When New York State created a rent relief program to help tenants struggling with the pandemic, it set aside about $ 2.7 billion to give to households that fell behind.

But after nearly two months, the money is slow to reach those who need it. Federal data shows New York was one of the slowest states to distribute aid.

At the end of June, New York was one of only two states where no aid had been sent – and the state’s moratorium on evictions is set to expire in late August.

Many tenant advocates believe the program will ultimately prove to be crucial, although some groups say the application process is too complex.

[Read more about the sluggish start for New York’s rent relief effort.]

The state rental assistance program application process is primarily online. Housing groups claim the website was hampered by technical glitches and tenants encountered errors which in some cases wiped out entire apps.

Tenants and landlords have to fill out forms and submit documents, but they said uploading the required information is cumbersome. The process is also very time consuming because the system has no way to save and restart an app.

Tenant advocates are also concerned that the system will be elusive for residents of low-income neighborhoods with poor internet access, homes where English is not the primary language, and people who do not have it easily. access to laptops or smartphones. Many of these groups may be the most at risk of deportation.

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State officials said 160,000 applications were submitted last week and technical issues were being addressed as they arose. Officials also said they were prioritizing requests from the most needy tenants.

Under the program, tenants who submit a completed application will be protected from eviction, even if their case is being processed and assistance has not been distributed.

Officials said they started handing out a small sum – $ 117,000 – this month to test the payment system and that more funds should be sent.

Yet the need in New York City, which has more tenants than any other state, is huge, and it’s unclear how many tenants will actually benefit from the program.

Vincent M. Mallozzi of The Times writes:

Tali Agai and her fiance, Kyle Eisenman, were among the couples eagerly awaiting the doors of the Manhattan Marriage Bureau to open at 8:45 a.m. on Friday. The couple, who met on dating site Tinder seven years ago, have had to change their marriage plans twice because of the coronavirus.

“We are more than ready to get married,” said Mr. Eisenman, 34. He and Ms Agai, 35, had planned to celebrate their union at the Prospect Park Boathouse in Brooklyn this weekend.

Due to the pandemic, the Manhattan Marriage Bureau closed in March 2020. Workers there developed a virtual system for issuing marriage licenses and another system for virtual marriages, which New York authorized to do. April 2020 to June 2021.

But on Friday, the office reopened for the first time in 15 months, amid excitement from couples waiting to be married in person and officials accompanying couples through the process.

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Yet, day-to-day affairs in person at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau are now different. Couples can get married, but weddings cannot accompany them to civil ceremonies.

“It’s hard to accept, but a lot has changed, and there’s a really good reason why,” said Michael McSweeney, the city clerk.

It’s Monday – spread the love.

Dear Diary:

On a trip to New York City, I convinced my wife, Linda, to join me on a baseball pilgrimage: a walk to where the marble Ebbets Field once stood.

After taking the subway to Prospect Park, we made our way to Sullivan Place and the large apartment complex where the Dodgers baseball stadium was located.

We spotted Jackie Robinson Park down the road, but couldn’t find a sign for the old home plate house.

Suddenly we heard a loud voice screaming from a distance.

“Are you looking for marble? “

We looked up at the entrance to the building and saw a security guard with a big smile.

Linda and I looked at each other and laughed.

“Yes,” we shouted back.

“Follow me,” she said, waving us up the stairs.

Soon we follow her along a walkway and down a flight of stairs to the parking lot at the back of the complex.

“I have people like you who come here all the time looking for a marble,” she said as we came to the end of our impromptu tour.

– There, she said. “You can take your photos now. “

We thanked her and took some pictures.

She turned and walked away as my wife and I looked at the plaque: “Site of Ebbets Field Home Plate.” Home of the Brooklyn Dodgers 1913-1957. There, on April 15, 1947, Jack Roosevelt Robinson joined Major League Baseball.

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-Gary Poignant

Illustrated by Agnès Lee. Read more about the metropolitan agenda here.

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