County, City Announce $1.1 Million Available for COVID-19 Emergency Rent and Utility Relief Program
County also awards funding to Legal Services of the Hudson Valley for eviction prevention services
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison have announced more than $1.1 million in funding is available through a COVID-19 Emergency Rent and Utility Relief program for low- and moderate-income households adversely affected by the pandemic. Although there is a temporary moratorium on evictions, payment for past-due rents will be due when the moratorium is lifted, and many households will have difficulty paying past-due rent quickly enough to avoid eviction.
Tenants who are residing in their primary residence, including those residing in a legal rooming house or single room occupancy units, are eligible for up to six consecutive months of rent and utility assistance; past-due lot rent tenants residing in manufactured homes are also eligible for assistance with past-due lot rent. Tenants can apply for funding directly or landlords may apply on behalf of tenants; however, tenants will be responsible for providing documentation to ensure eligibility. Rental assistance is paid to the landlord, and the landlord will be required to submit an IRS Form W-9; utility assistance is paid directly to the utility company.
Dutchess County is allocating more than $930,000 to the program, which aims to promote housing security to all County residents outside the City of Poughkeepsie, and the City is allocating $200,000 to this initiative. The County has also received $8.7 million from the U.S Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance Program, specifically for rent and utility relief; applications for those funds are anticipated to be available by the end of May 2021. The City receives its own CDBG-CV funds; hence its residents are not eligible for county CDBG-CV funds under federal regulations.
Funding for this current initiative was made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and awarded to the County and the City for distribution through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. This funding must be used for prevention, preparation and response to the Coronavirus (CV) pandemic. The County and the City are partnering with Hudson River Housing (HRH) to implement this program.
County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Tenants and landlords continue to feel the effects of this pandemic, as many tenants’ employment has been severely limited – if not terminated – making it impossible for them to pay rent to their landlords. Dutchess County is proud to assist tenants, whose income was negatively impacted through no fault of their own, so they can remain in their homes while making their landlords whole. I urge residents who need help paying their rent and utilities to explore this option.”
“During this pandemic, providing rent relief to those who need it is of the utmost importance,” Mayor Rolison said. “The COVID-19 crisis has lasted longer than many of us would have imagined when the virus first spread to our community. Preventing evictions is essential, and we are grateful to be able to participate in this program that will undoubtedly help many of our residents.”
“Hudson River Housing is grateful to the County for their ongoing partnership and leadership, especially in these challenging times,” said HRH Executive Director Christa Hines. “These critical rent relief funds will greatly assist people and families during a time when it is needed the most.”
To be eligible, household income must be at or below 80 percent of the area median income (AMI) with a priority for households at or below 60 percent of the AMI; see table below:
Additional eligibility requirements are as follows:
- Household can demonstrate a COVID-19 related financial impact;
- Household is in a legally binding agreement with the landlord;
- Household was issued a rental ledger outlining rent owed by month; and,
- Landlord and tenant agree to enter into a landlord/tenant rental agreement, with landlord agreeing to waive late and legal fees.
Payments for rental arrears shall be the lesser of the monthly rent for the household or 150 percent of the fair market rent for the unit, based on bedroom size, not to exceed the total arrears due for any individual month, as reflected in the landlord issued rental ledger.
Complete program guidance, eligibility requirements and application instructions can be found here. Applications are being accepted electronically through May 17, 2021 via an online portal. Notice of awards will begin no later than June 15, 2021 and continue until all funding is expended.
The County also awarded funding to Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV) for legal eviction prevention services to households who meet low- and moderate-income limits. HRH will refer applicants to LSHV, as appropriate.