Periodic Website Glitches Persist Weeks After Portal Opens
After months of anticipation, the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) finally began accepting applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).
On June 1st, New York officially became the last state in the country to open its federally-funded rent relief program. Now, over $2.7 billion in relief is available to eligible tenants who were financially-impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although tenants can apply on their own, building owners can apply on behalf of eligible tenants as long as they have their consent. If applications are approved, all funds will go directly to the building owner.
To no surprise, owners and tenants faced numerous technical issues on the OTDA website immediately following the opening of the application portal. At this juncture, OTDA continues to address these periodic issues. Furthermore, OTDA announced that the ability to “save and resume” an application has temporarily been taken offline. As a result, owners or tenants that have started, but not completed an application, cannot resume the stored application and complete it. OTDA anticipates that this function will likely remain unavailable through at least the end of June.
In the meantime, individuals who have started and saved an application, but not completed it, are directed to resubmit a new application. Those who have completed all questions, agreed to the tenant certification, and signed the online application, are considered to have submitted the application and can upload required documentation at any time. OTDA will contact individuals who have started an ERAP application but not submitted a complete application to inform them of the need to begin and complete a new application.
With regard to other issues and frequently asked questions, RSA had a meeting with OTDA officials in mid-June to address these concerns from RSA members. The answers to those questions can be found on RSA’s website in the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) portal in the Resources section. The document, titled “ERAP Frequently Asked Questions June 11, 2021,” can be accessed by clicking here.
If you or your tenants have not started the application process, RSA has also created a document in English and Spanish that not only details the various documents that you and your tenants need when applying for the program, but also details eligibility criteria. Now that the application portal has opened, we urge you to share this document with your tenants to educate them about the program and determine whether or not they are qualified to apply for rent relief. You can email, mail, or print this document and hand it directly to your tenants. Please visit the ERAP portal on RSA’s website at https://bit.ly/3gpslgl to access the document. You can also use page 11 of the June issue of the RSA Reporter as a reference for the documents that you and your tenants are required to have. To begin the application process on OTDA’s website.
As a reminder, the program will prioritize the unemployed, those with income at or below 50 percent of area median income (AMI), and other vulnerable populations through June 30th. In early July, applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, as long as funds remain available.
Because this is the last issue of the RSA Reporter until September, we urge you to be on the lookout for updates and important information about ERAP through RSA email blasts.