To the editor:
As has been widely publicized, on June 1 New York State opened the portal for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP. Through this program, both landlords and tenants can apply for assistance with rental and utility arrears, going back to March 13 of 2020. Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) in Greene and Columbia Counties are tasked with assisting applicants. As all applications must be submitted through the portal, no paper applications are available, agencies such as Community Action of Greene County, and Columbia Opportunities, for Greene and Columbia Counties respectively, are prepared to offer computers in their offices for use for applicants, assist with navigating the portal, scanning documents, etc. All applications will be either denied or approved by NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), and all payments will be issued by OTDA as well, directly to landlords and utility companies. For information on the program, or to apply for assistance, please visit: https://otda.ny.gov/programs/Emergency-Rental-Assistance/
In addition to the ERAP program, the Solutions to End Homelessness Program (STEHP), through NYSOTDA, is available to residents of both Greene and Columbia Counties and is administered in both counties through Community Action of Greene County, Inc. Both literally homeless individuals and families, as well as those in arrears on rent or utilities may apply.
CARES Act funding is also available for many COVID related needs- such as rent and utilities, daycare, internet access, transportation, etc. in both counties, again through Community Action of Greene County and Columbia Opportunities.
There is no reason to wait for the moratorium on evictions to cease, help is available now if income eligible. For an application for assistance or more information:
Florence Ohle, Executive Director
Community Action of Greene County Inc.
Tina Sharp, Executive Director
Columbia Opportunities Inc.