Emergency Rent Relief Act of 2020 passes NYS Senate and Assembly

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State legislature was back in session Thursday as lawmakers worked through some COVID-related measures. One topic of discussion was rent relief.

One state bill, which passed the State Senate and Assembly, is the Emergency Rent Relief Act of 2020.
It would direct $100 million from the federal CARES Act to be used towards rental assistance.

“It is a program that will pay rent for April, May, June and July to the extent that people who were low income before this crisis and during this crisis are burdened by their rent meaning they’re paying more than 30 percent of their income in rent,” said bill sponsor Senator Brian Kavanagh.

Meanwhile, some groups like Citizen Action say that rent should be “canceled.”

Senator Brian Kavanagh is also supporting a proposal for $100 billion nationally in rental and housing assistance with $10 billion going towards New York.

“That is 100 times the amount of money we’re talking about today. And that would allow us to pass a much broader, comprehensive approach to this problem,” he said.

“We really need to get the federal funding right now so that we’re able to craft programs and policies that can help people who are already homeless get back into housing and also prevent what could be a devastating tsunami of newly homeless households given the economic disruption from COVID,” said Coalition for the Homeless Policy Analyst Jacquelyn Simone.

State Senate Republicans also proposed an amendment Thursday that would have allocated $100 million of CARES Act funding for nursing homes to have more “testing, PPE, and staffing.” It was rejected.

The New York Capital Region Apartment Association President representing landlords said the organization is supportive of the Kavanagh bill.

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